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Open access

Contralateral interhemispheric transcallosal transchoroidal approach to a thalamic glioma: illustrative case

Sayedali Ahmadi, Vrun J Mistry, and Basant Kumar Misra

BACKGROUND

Thalamic lesions located in the floor of the lateral ventricle pose significant surgical challenges, given their proximity to critical neurovascular structures. Transcortical approaches are often limited by risks of injuring the eloquent cortex and nearby vessels. Furthermore, lesions extending into the third ventricle further impede accessibility. The corticospinal tract (CST), situated close to the thalamus, presents a major obstacle. Diffusion tensor imaging plays a crucial role in overcoming these challenges by accurately delineating the CST’s location relative to the lesion, enabling surgeons to plan minimally invasive and safe access.

OBSERVATIONS

A 32-year-old female presented with progressive right-sided hemiparesis over several days. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a cystic ring-enhancing thalamic lesion extending into the third ventricle. While supine, the patient underwent surgery via a right pericoronal parasagittal craniotomy followed by a contralateral interhemispheric transcallosal transchoroidal approach.

LESSONS

This case exemplifies the utility of the contralateral interhemispheric transcallosal approach for treating thalamic lesions, particularly those extending into the third ventricle. This minimally invasive approach minimizes retraction of the eloquent cortex and reduces the risk of neurovascular injury, potentially leading to improved surgical outcomes and faster recovery.

Open access

CyberKnife stereotactic radiosurgery for extramedullary plasmacytoma in the external auditory canal: illustrative case

Surya Patil, Elaheh Shaghaghian, Lorenzo Yuan, Aaryan Shah, Neelan J Marianayagam, David J Park, Scott G Soltys, Anand Veeravagu, Iris C Gibbs, Gordon Li, and Steven D Chang

BACKGROUND

Plasmacytoma, a rare plasma cell disorder, often presents as a solitary or multiple tumors within the bone marrow or soft tissues, typically associated with multiple myeloma. Extramedullary plasmacytomas (EMPs), particularly those located in the external auditory canal (EAC), are exceedingly rare and pose significant treatment challenges given their location, anatomical complexity, and high risk of recurrence.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors report the case of a 72-year-old male with a history of multiple myeloma, presenting with recurrent left EAC plasmacytoma. After initial conventional radiotherapy for the lesion, a recurrence was documented in 7 years. The patient subsequently underwent stereotactic radiosurgery, which proved successful, leading to complete resolution of the lesion without any long-term adverse effects or radiation-related complications over a 45-month period.

LESSONS

This case is a unique instance of utilizing stereotactic radiosurgery for recurrent EMP in the EAC, highlighting its potential as an effective approach in managing complex plasmacytomas.

Open access

Phantom limb pain, traumatic neuroma, or nerve sheath tumor? Illustrative case

Patrick J Halloran, E. Antonio Chiocca, and Andres Santos

BACKGROUND

Phantom limb pain and traumatic neuromas are not commonly seen in neurosurgical practice. These conditions can present with similar symptoms; however, management of traumatic neuroma is often surgical, whereas phantom limb pain is treated with conservative measures.

OBSERVATIONS

A 77-year-old female patient with a long-standing history of an above-the-knee amputation experienced severe pain in her right posterior buttocks area for several years’ duration, attributed to phantom limb pain, which radiated down the stump of her leg and was treated with a variety of conservative measures. A recent exacerbation of her pain led to a prolonged hospitalization with magnetic resonance imaging of her leg stump, revealing a mass in the sciatic notch, at a relative distance from the stump. The anatomical location of the mass on the sciatic nerve in the notch led to a presumed radiological diagnosis of nerve sheath tumor, for which she underwent excision. At surgery, a neuroma of the proximal portion of the transected sciatic nerve that had retracted from the amputated stump to the notch was diagnosed.

LESSONS

Traumatic neuromas of transected major nerves after limb amputation should be considered in the differential diagnosis of phantom limb pain.

Open access

A rare case of atypical intradural extramedullary glioblastoma diagnosed utilizing next-generation sequencing and methylation profiling: illustrative case

William J Shelton, Andrew P Mathews, Karrar Aljiboori, J. Stephen Nix, Murat Gokden, and Analiz Rodriguez

BACKGROUND

Primary spinal cord tumors, especially primary spinal cord glioblastoma multiforme (PSC-GBM), are exceptionally rare, accounting for less than 1.5% of all spinal tumors. Their infrequency and aggressive yet atypical presentation make diagnosis challenging. In uncertain cases, a surgical approach for tissue diagnosis is often optimal.

OBSERVATIONS

A 76-year-old male presented with a rapidly progressing clinical history marked by worsening extremity weakness, urinary retention, and periodic fecal incontinence alongside diffuse changes on neuraxis imaging. The patient, in whom subacute polyneuropathy was initially diagnosed, received multiple rounds of steroids and intravenous immunoglobulin without clinical improvement. Histopathological review of the biopsy tissue yielded an initial diagnosis of spindle cell neoplasm. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) is done routinely on all neuropathology specimens at the authors’ institution, and methylation profiling is pursued in difficult cases. Ultimately, NGS and methylation profiling results were essential to an integrated final diagnosis of GBM.

LESSONS

PSC-GBM is a rare but highly aggressive occurrence of this tumor. Prolonged back pain, rapid neurological decline, and imaging changes warrant the consideration of lesional biopsy for precise disease characterization. In inconclusive cases, NGS has proved invaluable for clinical clarification and diagnosis, underscoring its importance for integrated diagnoses in guiding appropriate treatment strategies.

Open access

Successful resection of bilateral parafalcine meningioma with unilateral interhemispheric and contralateral transfalcine approach under nonintubated spontaneous breathing conditions: illustrative case

Seiichiro Hirono, Keisuke Kawano, Masato Ito, Kana Saito, Taiichiro Hayashida, and Yoshinori Higuchi

BACKGROUND

The best surgical approach for resecting bilateral parafalcine meningioma, as well as the optimal anesthesia and airway management for craniotomy in patients with interstitial pneumonia (IP) for preventing postsurgical exacerbation, remains unclear.

OBSERVATIONS

A 66-year-old female with a history of multiple relapses of IP underwent craniotomy for resection of a 4.5-cm bilateral parafalcine meningioma located just beneath the inferior sagittal sinus. To avoid mechanical ventilation or high-concentration oxygenation, the entire procedure was performed under nonintubated spontaneous breathing conditions with a supraglottic airway/laryngeal mask airway (SGA/LMA) device. Half of the tumor was resected using the ipsilateral interhemispheric approach, while the remaining half was resected using the contralateral transfalcine approach (CTA). No brain retractors were required. Preoperative embolization contributed toward reducing blood loss and surgery duration. During most of the operation, additional oxygen administration was not required. The postoperative course was uneventful, without exacerbation of the IP.

LESSONS

This case demonstrated the utility and feasibility of a unilateral interhemispheric approach combined with CTA for resection of a bilateral parafalcine meningioma. Additionally, this case provides an alternative method of airway and anesthesia management with an SGA/LMA device and nonintubated spontaneous breathing for the prevention of postoperative acute exacerbation of IP.

Open access

Posterior-only 2-level vertebrectomy and fusion in a medically complex patient with lumbar metastasis: illustrative case

Ryan Johnson, Annabelle Shaffer, Ashley Tang, Kathryn Tsai, Gina Guglielmi, and Paul M Arnold

BACKGROUND

Spinal metastases are commonly seen in patients with cancer and often indicate a poor prognosis. Treatment can include curative or palliative surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. The surgical approach varies widely on the basis of the affected region of the spine, the location of the tumor (anterior versus posterior), the goal of surgery, the health of the patient, and surgeon preference.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present a case of a 68-year-old male with intractable lower-back pain and substantially diminished ambulation. Diagnostic imaging revealed a lumbar metastasis from a cholangiocarcinoma primary at L2–3 (4.5 cm anteroposterior × 5.7 cm transverse × 7.0 cm craniocaudal). The patient underwent a 2-level vertebrectomy with expandable cage placement and T10 to S2 fusion via a posterior-only approach. The patient regained much of his mobility and quality of life after the surgery.

LESSONS

Although this was a high-risk surgery, the authors show that a posterior-only approach can be used for lumbar vertebrectomies and fusion when necessary. Palliative surgeries carrying a high risk, especially in the setting of a limited prognosis, should include multidisciplinary deliberations and a thorough discussion of the risks and outcome expectations with the patient.

Open access

Optimization of direct cortical stimulation using tibial versus median nerve sensory mapping during midline brain tumor resection: illustrative case

Denmark Mugutso, Charles Warnecke, Lee Eric Tessler, Christopher J Pace, and Marat V Avshalumov

BACKGROUND

During brain tumor resection, neurophysiological mapping and monitoring help surgeons locate, characterize, and functionally assess eloquent brain areas in real time. The selection of mapping and monitoring targets has implications for successful surgery. Here, the authors compare direct cortical stimulation (DCS) as suggested by median nerve (MN) with posterior tibial nerve (PTN) cortical sensory mapping (SM) during mesial lesion resection.

OBSERVATIONS

Recordings from a 6-contact cortical strip served to generate an MN and a PTN sensory map, which indicated the strip was anterior to the central sulcus. Responses exhibited an amplitude gradient with no phase reversal (PR). DCS, elicited through a stimulus probe or contact(s) of the strip, yielded larger responses from the corresponding sensory mapped limb; that is, PTN SM resulted in larger lower limb muscle responses than those suggested by MN SM.

LESSONS

SM of the MN and PTN is effective for localizing eloquent cortical areas wherein the PTN is favored in surgery for mesial cortical tumors. The recorded amplitude of the cortical somatosensory evoked potential is a valuable criterion for defining the optimal location for DCS, despite an absent PR. The pathway at risk dictates the specifics of SM, which subsequently defines the optimal location for DCS.

Open access

Bifocal germ cell tumor of pineal germinoma and neurohypophyseal embryonal carcinoma: illustrative case

Yu Naruse, Shinya Jinguji, Ryo Hiruta, Ayako Toda, Kenichiro Nagai, Shingo Kudo, Hideki Sano, Rei Sekine, Osamu Suzuki, Mudathir Bakhit, and Masazumi Fujii

BACKGROUND

Bifocal germ cell tumors, with primarily identical tissue composition, occur concurrently in the neurohypophyseal and pineal regions.

OBSERVATIONS

A 16-year-old male patient exhibited increased intracranial pressure symptoms, with concurrent tumors in the pineal and neurohypophyseal regions, causing obstructive hydrocephalus. His serum human chorionic gonadotropin level was elevated, measuring 506.6 mIU/mL. Upon gross endoscopic examination, the pineal tumor appeared white, whereas the neurohypophyseal tumor appeared red and hemorrhagic. Because of the limited sample size of the latter, a frozen section biopsy was feasible only for the pineal lesion, which indicated the presence of a germinoma. Subsequently, carboplatin and etoposide were administered, resulting in the reduction of the pineal tumor, but no effect was observed in the neurohypophyseal tumor. Histopathological analysis confirmed the pineal lesion as a germinoma, whereas the neurohypophyseal lesion was an embryonal carcinoma. Thus, the treatment was altered to ifosfamide, carboplatin, and etoposide (ICE), leading to a response in both tumors. The patient underwent three additional cycles of ICE therapy and high-dose chemotherapy, followed by whole craniospinal irradiation, achieving complete remission.

LESSONS

Although most bifocal germ cell tumors share the same histological tissue, occasional differences may arise, necessitating separate biopsies for accurate assessment.

Open access

Rare variant of large pediatric glioneuronal tumor with novel MYO5A::NTRK3 fusion: illustrative case

David Chenoweth, Hashim Syed, Nahom Teferi, Meron Challa, Jane E Persons, Kathryn L Eschbacher, Maggie Seblani, and Brian J Dlouhy

BACKGROUND

Glioneuronal tumors (GNTs) comprise a rare class of central nervous system (CNS) neoplasms with varying degrees of neuronal and glial differentiation that predominately affect children and young adults. Within the current 2021 World Health Organization (WHO) classification of CNS tumors, GNTs encompass 14 distinct tumor types. Recently, the use of whole-genome DNA methylation profiling has allowed more precise classification of this tumor group.

OBSERVATIONS

A 3-year-old male presented with a 3-month history of increasing head circumference, regression of developmental milestones, and speech delay. Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain was notable for a large left hemispheric multiseptated mass with significant mass effect and midline shift that was treated with near-total resection. Histological and molecular assessment demonstrated a glioneuronal tumor harboring an MYO5A::NTRK3 fusion. By DNA methylation profiling, this tumor matched to a provisional methylation class known as “glioneuronal tumor kinase-fused” (GNT kinase-fused). The patient was later started on targeted therapy with larotrectinib.

LESSONS

This is the first report of an MYO5A::NTRK3 fusion in a pediatric GNT. GNT kinase-fused is a provisional methylation class not currently included in the WHO classification of CNS tumors. This case highlights the impact of thorough molecular characterization of CNS tumors, especially with the increasing availability of novel gene targeting therapies.

Open access

Fluorescence and immune-cell infiltration of nonneoplastic, postbrachytherapy brain tissue in 5-ALA–guided resection of recurrent anaplastic meningioma: illustrative case

Rishab Ramapriyan, Victoria E Clark, 1 PhD, Maria Martinez-Lage, Brian Hsueh, 1 PhD, Brian V Nahed, 1 MSc, William T Curry, Bryan D Choi, 1 PhD, Bob S Carter, and 1 PhD

BACKGROUND

5-Aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) fluorescence-guided surgery is a well-established technique for resecting high-grade gliomas. However, its application in meningiomas, especially those previously treated with radiation therapy, remains under investigation.

OBSERVATIONS

A 48-year-old female with recurrent anaplastic meningioma, World Health Organization grade 3, underwent a right-sided craniotomy using off-label 5-ALA as a surgical adjunct. The patient had previously undergone brachytherapy seed implantation (20 × cesium 131) for tumor management. During the surgery, a large fluorescent tumor mass adjacent to the brachytherapy-treated area was resected, and the prior brachytherapy seeds were removed. Interestingly, the surrounding brain tissue in the irradiated area showed robust 5-ALA fluorescence. Pathological examination confirmed that the fluorescent brain tissue was nonneoplastic and associated with lymphocyte and macrophage infiltration.

LESSONS

This case report presents unique 5-ALA fluorescence in nonneoplastic tissue following brachytherapy, which was found during the resection of recurrent anaplastic meningioma. This phenomenon may reflect an intricate interplay among radiation therapy, immune cells, the tumor microenvironment, and 5-ALA metabolism. Given that false-positive findings in fluorescence-guided surgery can lead to unnecessary tissue resection and increased surgical morbidity, further research is warranted to elucidate the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon and its implications for meningioma surgery.