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Alex P. Michael, Osama Elbuluk, Apostolos John Tsiouris, Abtin Tabaee, Ashutosh Kacker, Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Spontaneous CSF leaks into the anterior skull base nasal sinuses are often associated with meningoencephaloceles and occur in patients with idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). Endonasal endoscopic repair has become the primary method of choice for repair. The authors sought to evaluate the success rate of endoscopic closure and to identify predictive factors for CSF leak recurrence.

METHODS

A consecutive series of endonasally repaired anterior skull base meningoencephaloceles was drawn from a prospectively acquired database. Lumbar punctures were not performed as part of a treatment algorithm. All patients had at least 5 months of follow-up. Chart review and phone calls were used to determine the timing and predictors of recurrence. Demographic information and details of operative technique were correlated with recurrence. Two independent radiologists reviewed all preoperative imaging to identify radiographic markers of IIH, as well as the location and size of the meningoencephalocele.

RESULTS

From a total of 54 patients there were 5 with recurrences (9.3%), but of the 39 patients in whom a vascularized nasoseptal (n = 31) or turbinate (n = 8) flap was used there were no recurrences (p = 0.0009). The mean time to recurrence was 24.8 months (range 9–38 months). There was a trend to higher BMI in patients whose leak recurred (mean [± SD] 36.6 ± 8.6) compared with those whose leak did not recur (31.8 ± 7.4; p = 0.182). Although the lateral recess of the sphenoid sinus was the most common site of meningoencephalocele, the fovea ethmoidalis was the most common site in recurrent cases (80%; p = 0.013). However, a vascularized flap was used in significantly more patients with sphenoid (78.3%) defects than in patients with fovea ethmoidalis (28.6%) defects (Fisher’s exact test, p = 0.005). Radiographic signs of IIH were equally present in all patients whose leak recurred (75%) compared with patients whose leak did not recur (63.3%); however, an enlarged Meckel cave was present in 100% (2/2) of patients whose leaks recurred compared with 13.3% (4/30) of patients whose leaks did not recur (p = 0.03). The average meningoencephalocele diameter tended to be larger (1.73 ± 1.3 cm) in patients with recurrence compared to those without recurrence (1.2 ± 0.66 cm; p = 0.22). A ventriculoperitoneal shunt was already in place in 3 patients, placed perioperatively in 5, and placed at recurrence in 2, none of whose leaks recurred.

CONCLUSIONS

Recurrence after endonasal repair of spontaneous CSF leaks from meningoencephaloceles can be dramatically reduced with the use of a vascularized flap. Although failures of endonasal repair tend to occur in patients who have higher BMI, larger brain herniations, and no CSF diversion, the lack of vascularized flap was the single most important risk factor predictive of failure.

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Saniya S. Godil, Umberto Tosi, Mina Gerges, Andrew L. A. Garton, Georgiana A. Dobri, Ashutosh Kacker, Abtin Tabaee, Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Surgical management of craniopharyngiomas (CPAs) is challenging. Controversy exists regarding the optimal goals of surgery. The purpose of this study was to compare the long-term outcomes of patients who underwent gross-total resection with the outcomes of those who underwent subtotal resection of their CPA via an endoscopic endonasal approach.

METHODS

From a prospectively maintained database of all endoscopic endonasal approaches performed at Weill Cornell Medicine, only patients with CPAs with > 3 years of follow-up after surgery were included. The primary endpoint was radiographic progression. Data were collected on baseline demographics, imaging, endocrine function, visual function, and extent of resection.

RESULTS

A total of 44 patients with a mean follow-up of 5.7 ± 2.6 years were included. Of these patients, 14 (31.8%) had prior surgery. GTR was achieved in 77.3% (34/44) of all patients and 89.5% (34/38) of patients in whom it was the goal of surgery. Preoperative tumor volume < 10 cm3 was highly predictive of GTR (p < 0.001). Radiation therapy was administered within the first 3 months after surgery in 1 (2.9%) of 34 patients with GTR and 7 (70%) of 10 patients with STR (p < 0.001). The 5-year recurrence-free/progression-free survival rate was 75.0% after GTR and 25.0% after STR (45% in subgroup with STR plus radiotherapy; p < 0.001). The time to recurrence after GTR was 30.2 months versus 13 months after STR (5.8 months in subgroup with STR plus radiotherapy; p < 0.001). Patients with GTR had a lower rate of visual deterioration and higher rate of return to work or school compared with those with STR (p = 0.02). Patients with GTR compared to STR had a lower rate of CSF leakage (0.0% vs 30%, p = 0.001) but a higher rate of diabetes insipidus (85.3% vs 50%, p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

GTR, which is possible to achieve in smaller tumors, resulted in improved tumor control, better visual outcome, and better functional recovery but a higher rate of diabetes insipidus compared with STR, even when the latter was supplemented with postoperative radiation therapy. GTR should be the goal of craniopharyngioma surgery, when achievable with minimal morbidity.

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Mark Lee, Hazel T. Rivera-Rosario, Matthew H. Kim, Gregory P. Bewley, Jane Wang, Zellman Warhaft, Bradley Stylman, Angela I. Park, Aoife MacMahon, Ashutosh Kacker, and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

The authors developed a negative-pressure, patient face-mounted antechamber and tested its efficacy as a tool for sequestering aerated particles and improving the safety of endonasal surgical procedures.

METHODS

Antechamber prototyping was performed with 3D printing and silicone-elastomer molding. The lowest vacuum settings needed to meet specifications for class I biosafety cabinets (flow rate ≥ 0.38 m/sec) were determined using an anemometer. A cross-validation approach with two different techniques, optical particle sizing and high-speed videography/shadowgraphy, was used to identify the minimum pressures required to sequester aerosolized materials. At the minimum vacuum settings identified, physical parameters were quantified, including flow rate, antechamber pressure, and time to clearance.

RESULTS

The minimum tube pressures needed to meet specifications for class I biosafety cabinets were −1.0 and −14.5 mm Hg for the surgical chambers with (“closed face”) and without (“open face”) the silicone diaphragm covering the operative port, respectively. Optical particle sizing did not detect aerosol generation from surgical drilling at these vacuum settings; however, videography estimated higher thresholds required to contain aerosols, at −6 and −35 mm Hg. Simulation of surgical movement disrupted aerosol containment visualized by shadowgraphy in the open-faced but not the closed-faced version of the mask; however, the closed-face version of the mask required increased negative pressure (−15 mm Hg) to contain aerosols during surgical simulation.

CONCLUSIONS

Portable, negative-pressure surgical compartments can contain aerosols from surgical drilling with pressures attainable by standard hospital and clinic vacuums. Future studies are needed to carefully consider the reliability of different techniques for detecting aerosols.

Open access

Michelle Roytman, Andrew B. Tassler, Ashutosh Kacker, Theodore H. Schwartz, Georgiana A. Dobri, Sara B. Strauss, Alyssa M. Capalbo, Rajiv S. Magge, Marissa Barbaro, Eaton Lin, Joseph R. Osborne, and Jana Ivanidze

BACKGROUND

Esthesioneuroblastoma (ENB), also known as olfactory neuroblastoma, is a rare sinonasal neuroectodermal malignancy with a slow onset of symptoms, favorable 5-year survival, and a propensity for delayed locoregional recurrence. Current treatment options include resection, adjuvant radiotherapy, and/or chemotherapy; however, because of its rarity and location, determining the optimal treatment for ENB has been challenging.

OBSERVATIONS

ENBs strongly express somatostatin receptors (SSTRs), particularly SSTR2, providing a molecular target for imaging and therapy.

LESSONs

The authors present a case series of ENBs imaged with [68Ga]-DOTATATE PET/MRI and PET/CT and discuss the emerging role of [68Ga]-DOTATATE PET for ENB diagnosis, staging, and treatment response monitoring.

Free access

Brett E. Youngerman, Matei A. Banu, Mina M. Gerges, Eseosa Odigie, Abtin Tabaee, Ashutosh Kacker, Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

The endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) has gained increasing popularity for the resection of suprasellar meningiomas (SSMs). Appropriate case selection is critical in optimizing patient outcome. Long-term outcome data are lacking. The authors systematically identified preoperative factors associated with extent of resection (EOR) and determined the relationship between EOR and long-term recurrence after EEA for SSMs.

METHODS

In this retrospective cohort study, the authors identified preoperative clinical and imaging characteristics associated with EOR and built on the recently published University of California, San Francisco resectability score to propose a score more specific to the EEA. They then examined the relationship between gross-total resection (GTR; 100%), near-total resection (NTR; 95%–99%), and subtotal resection (STR; < 95%) and recurrence or progression with Kaplan-Meier survival analysis.

RESULTS

A total of 51 patients were identified. Radiographic GTR was achieved in 40 of 47 (85%) patients in whom it was the surgical goal. Significant independent risk factors for incomplete resection were prior surgery (OR 25.94, 95% CI < 2.00 to 336.49, p = 0.013); tumor lateral to the optic nerve (OR 13.41, 95% CI 1.82–98.99, p = 0.011); and complete internal carotid artery (ICA) encasement (OR 15.12, 95% CI 1.17–194.08, p = 0.037). Tumor size and optic canal invasion were not significant risk factors after adjustment for other variables. A resectability score based on the multivariable model successfully predicted the likelihood of GTR; a score of 0 had a positive predictive value of 97% for GTR, whereas a score of 2 had a negative predictive value of 87.5% for incomplete resection. After a mean follow-up of 40.6 ± 32.4 months (mean ± SD), recurrence was 2.7% after GTR (1 patient with atypical histology), 44.4% after NTR, and 80% after STR (p < 0.0001). Vision was stable or improved in 93.5% and improved in 67.4% of patients with a preoperative deficit. There were 5 (9.8%) postoperative CSF leaks, of which 4 were managed with lumbar drains and 1 required a reoperation.

CONCLUSIONS

The EEA is a safe and effective approach to SSMs, with favorable visual outcomes in well-selected cases. The combination of postoperative MRI-based EOR with direct endoscopic inspection can be used in lieu of Simpson grade to predict recurrence. GTR dramatically reduces recurrence and can be achieved regardless of tumor size, proximity or encasement of the anterior cerebral artery, or medial optic canal invasion. Risk factors for incomplete resection include prior surgery, tumor lateral to the optic nerve, and complete ICA encasement.

Free access

Iyan Younus, Mina M. Gerges, Rafael Uribe-Cardenas, Peter F. Morgenstern, Mahmoud Eljalby, Abtin Tabaee, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Ashutosh Kacker, Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs) to the skull base have evolved over the last 20 years to become an essential component of a comprehensive skull base practice. Many case series show a learning curve from the earliest cases, in which the authors were inexperienced or were not using advanced closure techniques. It is generally accepted that once this learning curve is achieved, a plateau is reached with little incremental improvement. Cases performed during the early steep learning curve were eliminated to examine whether the continued improvement exists over the “tail end” of the curve.

METHODS

A prospectively acquired database of all EEA cases performed by the senior authors at Weill Cornell Medicine/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital was reviewed. The first 200 cases were eliminated and the next 1000 consecutive cases were examined to avoid the bias created by the early learning curve.

RESULTS

Of the 1000 cases, the most common pathologies included pituitary adenoma (51%), meningoencephalocele or CSF leak repair (8.6%), meningioma (8.4%), craniopharyngioma (7.3%), basilar invagination (3.1%), Rathke’s cleft cyst (2.8%), and chordoma (2.4%). Use of lumbar drains decreased from the first half to the second half of our series (p <0.05) as did the authors’ use of fat alone (p <0.005) or gasket alone (p <0.005) for dural closure, while the use of a nasoseptal flap increased (p <0.005). Although mean tumor diameter was constant (on average), gross-total resection (GTR) increased from 60% in the first half to 73% in the second half (p <0.005). GTR increased for all pathologies but most significantly for chordoma (56% vs 100%, p <0.05), craniopharyngioma (47% vs 0.71%, p <0.05) and pituitary adenoma (67% vs 75%, p <0.05). Hormonal cure for secreting adenomas also increased from 83% in the first half to 89% in the second half (p <0.05). The rate of any complication was unchanged at 6.4% in the first half and 6.2% in the latter half of cases, and vascular injury occurred in only 0.6% of cases. Postoperative CSF leak occurred in 2% of cases and was unchanged between the first and second half of the series.

CONCLUSIONS

This study demonstrates that contrary to popular belief, the surgical learning curve does not plateau but can continue for several years depending on the complexity of the endpoints considered. These findings may have implications for clinical trial design, surgical education, and patient safety measures.

Free access

Iyan Younus, Mina M. Gerges, Rafael Uribe-Cardenas, Peter F. Morgenstern, Mahmoud Eljalby, Abtin Tabaee, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Ashutosh Kacker, Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs) to the skull base have evolved over the last 20 years to become an essential component of a comprehensive skull base practice. Many case series show a learning curve from the earliest cases, in which the authors were inexperienced or were not using advanced closure techniques. It is generally accepted that once this learning curve is achieved, a plateau is reached with little incremental improvement. Cases performed during the early steep learning curve were eliminated to examine whether the continued improvement exists over the “tail end” of the curve.

METHODS

A prospectively acquired database of all EEA cases performed by the senior authors at Weill Cornell Medicine/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital was reviewed. The first 200 cases were eliminated and the next 1000 consecutive cases were examined to avoid the bias created by the early learning curve.

RESULTS

Of the 1000 cases, the most common pathologies included pituitary adenoma (51%), meningoencephalocele or CSF leak repair (8.6%), meningioma (8.4%), craniopharyngioma (7.3%), basilar invagination (3.1%), Rathke’s cleft cyst (2.8%), and chordoma (2.4%). Use of lumbar drains decreased from the first half to the second half of our series (p <0.05) as did the authors’ use of fat alone (p <0.005) or gasket alone (p <0.005) for dural closure, while the use of a nasoseptal flap increased (p <0.005). Although mean tumor diameter was constant (on average), gross-total resection (GTR) increased from 60% in the first half to 73% in the second half (p <0.005). GTR increased for all pathologies but most significantly for chordoma (56% vs 100%, p <0.05), craniopharyngioma (47% vs 0.71%, p <0.05) and pituitary adenoma (67% vs 75%, p <0.05). Hormonal cure for secreting adenomas also increased from 83% in the first half to 89% in the second half (p <0.05). The rate of any complication was unchanged at 6.4% in the first half and 6.2% in the latter half of cases, and vascular injury occurred in only 0.6% of cases. Postoperative CSF leak occurred in 2% of cases and was unchanged between the first and second half of the series.

CONCLUSIONS

This study demonstrates that contrary to popular belief, the surgical learning curve does not plateau but can continue for several years depending on the complexity of the endpoints considered. These findings may have implications for clinical trial design, surgical education, and patient safety measures.

Free access

Mina M. Gerges, Kavelin Rumalla, Saniya S. Godil, Iyan Younus, Walid Elshamy, Georgiana A. Dobri, Ashutosh Kacker, Abtin Tabaee, Viay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas are benign, slow-growing tumors. After gross-total resection (GTR) or subtotal resection (STR), tumors can recur or progress and may ultimately require additional intervention. A greater understanding of long-term recurrence and progression rates following complete or partial resection and the need for further intervention will help clinicians provide meaningful counsel for their patients and assist data-driven decision-making.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively analyzed their institutional database for patients undergoing endoscopic endonasal surgery (EES) for nonfunctioning pituitary macroadenomas (2003–2014). Only patients with follow-up of at least 5 years after surgery were included. Tumor volumes were measured on pre- and postoperative MRI. Tumor recurrence was defined as the presence of a 0.1-cm3 tumor volume after GTR, and tumor progression was defined as a 25.0% increase in residual tumor after STR.

RESULTS

A total of 190 patients were included, with a mean age of 63.8 ± 13.2 years; 79 (41.6%) were female. The mean follow-up was 75.0 ± 18.0 months. GTR was achieved in 127 (66.8%) patients. In multivariate analysis, age (p = 0.04), preoperative tumor volume (p = 0.03), Knosp score (p < 0.001), and Ki-67 (p = 0.03) were significant predictors of STR. In patients with GTR, the probability of recurrence at 5 and 10 years was 3.9% and 4.7%, and the probability of requiring treatment for recurrence was 0.79% and 1.6%, respectively. In 63 patients who underwent STR, 6 (9.5%) received early postoperative radiation and did not experience progression, while the remaining 57 (90.5%) were observed. Of these, the probability of disease progression at 5 and 10 years was 21% and 24.5%, respectively, and the probability of requiring additional treatment for progression was 17.5% and 21%. Predictors of recurrence or progression in the entire group were Knosp score (p < 0.001) and elevated Ki-67 (p = 0.03). Significant predictors of progression after STR in those who did not receive early radiotherapy were cavernous sinus location (p < 0.05) and tumor size > 1.0 cm3 (p = 0.005).

CONCLUSIONS

Following GTR for nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas, the 10-year chance of recurrence is low and the need for treatment even lower. After STR, although upfront radiation therapy may prevent progression, even without radiotherapy, the need for intervention at 10 years is only approximately 20% and a period of observation may be warranted to prevent unnecessary prophylactic radiation therapy. Tumor volume > 1 cm3, Knosp score ≥ 3, and Ki-67 ≥ 3% may be useful metrics to prompt closer follow-up or justify early prophylactic radiation therapy.

Full access

Edgar G. Ordóñez-Rubiano, Jonathan A. Forbes, Peter F. Morgenstern, Leopold Arko, Georgiana A. Dobri, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Mark M. Souweidane, Apostolos John Tsiouris, Vijay K. Anand, Ashutosh Kacker, and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Gross-total resection (GTR) of craniopharyngiomas (CPs) is potentially curative and is often the goal of surgery, but endocrinopathy generally results if the stalk is sacrificed. In some cases, GTR can be attempted while still preserving the stalk; however, stalk manipulation or devascularization may cause endocrinopathy and this strategy risks leaving behind small tumor remnants that can recur.

METHODS

A retrospective review of a prospective cohort of patients who underwent initial resection of CP using the endoscopic endonasal approach over a period of 12 years at Weill Cornell Medical College, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, was performed. Postresection integrity of the stalk was retrospectively assessed using operative notes, videos, and postoperative MRI. Tumors were classified based on location into type I (sellar), type II (sellar-suprasellar), and type III (purely suprasellar). Pre- and postoperative endocrine function, tumor location, body mass index, rate of GTR, radiation therapy, and complications were reviewed.

RESULTS

A total of 54 patients who had undergone endoscopic endonasal procedures for first-time resection of CP were identified. The stalk was preserved in 33 (61%) and sacrificed in 21 (39%) patients. GTR was achieved in 24 patients (73%) with stalk preservation and 21 patients (100%) with stalk sacrifice (p = 0.007). Stalk-preservation surgery achieved GTR and maintained completely normal pituitary function in only 4 (12%) of 33 patients. Permanent postoperative diabetes insipidus was present in 16 patients (49%) with stalk preservation and in 20 patients (95%) following stalk sacrifice (p = 0.002). In the stalk-preservation group, rates of progression and radiation were higher with intentional subtotal resection or near-total resection compared to GTR (67% vs 0%, p < 0.001, and 100% vs 12.5%, p < 0.001, respectively). However, for the subgroup of patients in whom GTR was achieved, stalk preservation did not lead to significantly higher rates of recurrence (12.5%) compared with those in whom it was sacrificed (5%, p = 0.61), and stalk preservation prevented anterior pituitary insufficiency in 33% and diabetes insipidus in 50%.

CONCLUSIONS

While the decision to preserve the stalk reduces the rate of postoperative endocrinopathy by roughly 50%, nevertheless significant dysfunction of the anterior and posterior pituitary often ensues. The decision to preserve the stalk does not guarantee preserved endocrine function and comes with a higher risk of progression and need for adjuvant therapy. Nevertheless, to reduce postoperative endocrinopathy attempts should be made to preserve the stalk if GTR can be achieved.

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Jonathan A. Forbes, Edgar G. Ordóñez-Rubiano, Hilarie C. Tomasiewicz, Matei A. Banu, Iyan Younus, Georgiana A. Dobri, C. Douglas Phillips, Ashutosh Kacker, Babacar Cisse, Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Intrinsic third ventricular craniopharyngiomas (IVCs) have been reported by some authors to “pose the greatest surgical challenge” of all craniopharyngiomas (CPAs). A variety of open microsurgical approaches have historically been used for resection of these tumors. Despite increased utilization of the endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) for resection of CPAs in recent years, many authors continue to recommend against use of the EEA for resection of IVCs. In this paper, the authors present the largest series to date utilizing the EEA to remove IVCs.

METHODS

The authors reviewed a prospectively acquired database of the EEA for resection of IVCs over 14 years at Weill Cornell Medical College, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Preoperative MR images were examined independently by two neurosurgeons and a neuroradiologist to identify IVCs. Pre- and postoperative endocrinological, ophthalmological, radiographic, and other morbidities were determined from retrospective chart review and volumetric radiographic analysis.

RESULTS

Between January 2006 and August 2017, 10 patients (4 men, 6 women) ranging in age from 26 to 67 years old, underwent resection of an IVC utilizing the EEA. Preoperative endocrinopathy was present in 70% and visual deterioration in 60%. Gross-total resection (GTR) was achieved in 9 (90%) of 10 patients, with achievement of near-total (98%) resection in the remaining patient. Pathology was papillary in 30%. Closure incorporated a “gasket-seal” technique with nasoseptal flap coverage and either lumbar drainage (9 patients) or a ventricular drain (1 patient). Postoperatively, complete anterior and posterior pituitary insufficiency was present in 90% and 70% of patients, respectively. In 4 patients with normal vision prior to surgery, 3 had stable vision following tumor resection. One patient noted a new, incongruous, left inferior homonymous quadrantanopsia postoperatively. In the 6 patients who presented with compromised vision, 2 reported stable vision following surgery. Each of the remaining 4 patients noted significant improvement in vision after tumor resection, with complete restoration of normal vision in 1 patient. Aside from the single case (10%) of visual deterioration referenced above, there were no instances of postoperative neurological decline. Postoperative CSF leakage occurred in 1 morbidly obese patient who required reoperation for revision of closure. After a mean follow-up of 46.8 months (range 4–131 months), tumor recurrence was observed in 2 patients (20%), one of whom was treated with radiation and the other with chemotherapy. Both of these patients had previously undergone GTR of the IVC.

CONCLUSIONS

The 10 patients described in this report represent the largest number of patients with IVC treated using EEA for resection to date. EEA for resection of IVC is a safe and efficacious operative strategy that should be considered a surgical option in the treatment of this challenging subset of tumors.