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Michael J. Link, Douglas Kondziolka and Madjid Samii

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Madjid Samii, Hussam Metwali and Venelin Gerganov

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to analyze the efficacy and risks of microsurgery via the hearing-preserving retrosigmoid approach in patients with intracanalicular vestibular schwannoma (VS) suffering from disabling vestibular symptoms, with special attention to vertigo.

METHODS

This is a retrospective analysis of 19 patients with intracanalicular VS and disabling vestibular dysfunction as the main or only symptom (Group A). All of the patients reported having had disabling vertigo attacks. Subjective evaluation of the impairment of patients was performed before surgery, 3 weeks after surgery, 3 months after surgery, and 1 year after surgery, using the Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI). The main outcome measures were improvement in quality of life as measured using the DHI, and general and functional outcomes, in particular facial function and hearing. Patient age, preoperative tumor size, preoperative DHI score, and preservation of the nontumorous vestibular nerve were tested using a multivariate regression analysis to determine factors affecting the postoperative DHI score. The Mann-Whitney U-test was used to compare the postoperative DHI score at 3 weeks, 3 months, and 1 year after surgery with a control group of 19 randomly selected patients with intracanalicular VSs, who presented without vestibular symptoms (Group B). The occurrence of early postoperative discrete vertigo attacks was also compared between groups.

RESULTS

The preoperative DHI score was ≥ 54 in all patients. All patients reported having had disabling rotational vertigo before surgery. The only significant factor to affect the DHI outcome 3 weeks and 3 months after surgery was the preoperative DHI score. The DHI outcome after 1 year was not affected by the preoperative DHI score. Compared with the control group, the DHI score at 3 weeks and 3 months after surgery was significantly worse. There was no significant difference between the groups after 1 year. Vertigo was improved in all patients and completely resolved after 1 year in 17 patients.

CONCLUSIONS

Disabling vestibular dysfunction that affects quality of life should be considered an indication for surgery, even in otherwise asymptomatic patients with intracanalicular VS. Surgical removal of the tumor is safe and very effective in regard to symptom relief. All patients had excellent facial nerve function within 1 year after surgery, with a very good chance of hearing preservation.

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Mario Giordano, Amir Samii, Anna C. Lawson McLean, Helmut Bertalanffy, Rudolf Fahlbusch, Madjid Samii and Concezio Di Rocco

OBJECTIVE

The use of high-field intraoperative MRI has been largely studied for the treatment of intracranial tumors in adult patients. In this study, the authors investigated the safety, advantages, and limitations of high-field iMRI for cranial neurosurgical procedures in pediatric patients, with particular attention to craniopharyngiomas and gliomas.

METHODS

The authors performed 82 surgical procedures in patients under 16 years of age (range 0.8–15 years) over an 8-year period (2007–2014) using iMRI. The population was divided into 3 groups based on the condition treated: sellar region tumors (Group 1), gliomas (Group 2), and other pathological entities (Group 3). The patients' pre- and postoperative neurological status, the presence of residual tumor, the number of intraoperative scans, and complications were evaluated.

RESULTS

In Group 1, gross-total resection (GTR) was performed in 22 (88%) of the procedures and subtotal resection (STR) in 3 (12%). In Group 2, GTR, STR, and partial resection (PR) were performed, respectively, in 15 (56%), 7 (26%), and 5 (18%) of the procedures. In Group 3, GTR was performed in 28 (93%) and STR in 2 (7%) of the procedures. In cases of craniopharyngioma (Group 1) and glioma (Group 2) in which a complete removal was planned, iMRI allowed localization of residual lesions and attainment of the surgical goal through further resection, respectively, in 18% and 27% of the procedures. Moreover, in gliomas the resection could be extended from partial to subtotal in 50% of the cases. In 17% of the patients in Group 3, iMRI enabled the identification and further removal of tumor remnants. There was no intra- or postoperative complication related to the use of iMRI despite special technical difficulties in smaller children.

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, the use of iMRI in children proved to be safe. It was most effective in increasing the extent of tumor resection, especially in patients with low-grade gliomas and craniopharyngiomas. The most prominent disadvantage of high-field iMRI was the limitation with respect to operative positioning due to the configuration of the surgical table.

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Mohamadreza Hajiabadi, Madjid Samii and Rudolf Fahlbusch

OBJECT

Visual impairments are the most common objective manifestations of suprasellar lesions. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is a noninvasive MRI modality that depicts the subcortical white matter tracts in vivo. In this study the authors tested the value of visual pathway tractography in comparison with visual field and visual acuity analyses.

METHODS

This prospective study consisted of 25 patients with progressive visual impairment due to suprasellar mass lesions and 6 control patients with normal vision without such lesions. Visual acuity, visual field, and the optic fundus were examined preoperatively and repeated 1 week and 3 months after surgery. Visual pathway DTI tractography was performed preoperatively, intraoperatively immediately after tumor resection, and 1 week and 3 months after surgery.

RESULTS

In the control group, pre- and postoperative visual status were normal and visual pathway tractography revealed fibers crossing the optic chiasm without any alteration. In patients with suprasellar lesions, vision improved in 24 of 25. The mean distance between optic tracts in tractography decreased after tumor resection and detectable fibers crossing the optic chiasm increased from 12% preoperatively to 72% postoperatively 3 months after tumor resection, and undetectable fibers crossing the optic chiasm decreased from 88% preoperatively to 27% postoperatively 3 months after tumor resection. Visual improvement after tumor removal 1 week and 3 months after surgery was significantly correlated with the distance between optic tracts in intraoperative tractography (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Visual pathway DTI tractography appears to be a promising adjunct to the standard clinical and paraclinical visual examinations in patients with suprasellar mass lesions. The intraoperative findings, in particular the distance between optic tract fibers, can predict visual outcome after tumor resection. Furthermore, postoperative application of this technique may be useful in following anterior optic pathway recovery.

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Madjid Samii, Maysam Alimohamadi and Venelin Gerganov

OBJECT

Removal of jugular foramen (JF) tumors usually requires extensive skull base approaches and is frequently associated with postoperative morbidities such as lower cranial nerve injury. The endoscope-assisted retrosigmoid infralabyrinthine approach is a relatively new approach to tumors extending into the bony canal of the JF. The authors present their experience with this approach.

METHODS

The endoscope-assisted retrosigmoid infralabyrinthine approach was used in 7 patients, including 5 with schwannomas and 2 with paragangliomas. The access to the tumor, extent of its removal, postoperative neurological outcome, and approach-related morbidities were evaluated.

RESULTS

Two patients had a history of previous partial tumor removal, and 1 was treated by embolization followed by two courses of Gamma Knife radiosurgery. In this latter patient near-total resection was achieved. Gross-total resection was possible in the remaining 6 patients. Five patients benefited from endoscopic assistance: in 2 patients it showed a tumor remnant after microscopic tumor removal, while in 3 patients it allowed safe removal of the intraforaminal tumor by visualizing the surrounding structures. No permanent neurological deficit was observed after the operation. Two patients presenting with swallowing disturbance had temporary postoperative worsening that improved later. One patient developed CSF leakage that was managed with a lumbar drain.

CONCLUSIONS

This study shows that the judicious application of the endoscope-assisted retrosigmoid infralabyrinthine approach is safe and effective for removal of the schwannomas extending into the JF and selected paragangliomas without significant luminal invasion of the sigmoid-jugular system.

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Maysam Alimohamadi, Christian Hartmann, Vincenzo Paterno and Madjid Samii

Erdheim-Chester disease (ECD) is non-Langerhans histiocytosis that can affect multiple organ systems. It usually affects middle-aged patients, and only a few reports of ECD in children appear in the literature. Central nervous system involvement is a common feature that usually occurs as infiltration of the hypothalamus-pituitary axis, cerebellum, and/or brainstem. Meningeal involvement occurs less commonly. In this article, the authors discuss a rare pediatric case of ECD presenting as an infiltrative mass of the trigeminal nerve and resembling the clinical and imaging features of a trigeminal schwannoma.

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Maysam Alimohamadi and Madjid Samii

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Venelin Gerganov, Hussam Metwali, Amir Samii, Rudolf Fahlbusch and Madjid Samii

Object

An extensive craniopharyngioma is a tumor that extends into multiple compartments (subarachnoid spaces) and attains a size larger than 4 cm. A wide spectrum of approaches and strategies has been used for resection of such craniopharyngiomas. In this report the authors focused on the feasibility and efficacy of microsurgical resection of extensive craniopharyngiomas using a frontolateral approach.

Methods

A retrospective analysis was performed on 16 patients with extensive craniopharyngiomas who underwent operations using a frontolateral approach at one institution. The preoperative and postoperative clinical and radiological data, as well as the operative videos, were reviewed. The main focus of the review was the extent of radical tumor removal, early postoperative outcome, and approach-related complications.

Results

Gross-total resection of craniopharyngioma was achieved in 14 (87.5%) of 16 cases. Early after surgery (within 3 months), 1 patient showed improvement in hormonal status, while in the remaining 15 patients it worsened. No major neurological morbidity was observed. Two patients experienced temporary psychotic disorders. Visual function improved in 6 patients and remained unchanged in 9. One patient experienced a new bitemporal hemianopsia. Three patients with features of short-term memory disturbances at presentation did show improvement after surgery. There were no deaths or significant approach-related morbidity in this patient series. Only 1 patient required revision surgery for a CSF leak.

Conclusions

The safe and simple frontolateral approach provides adequate access even to extensive craniopharyngiomas and enables their complete removal with a reasonable morbidity and approach-related complication rate.

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Andrei Koerbel, Alireza Gharabaghi, Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Marcos Tatagiba and Madjid Samii

The extraordinary improvement of patient outcome after surgical treatment for vestibular schwannomas is relatively recent and has occurred mainly over the last 30 years. The introduction of microsurgical techniques has resulted in increasing degrees of precise anatomical and functional preservation of the facial and cochlear nerves. An expanded microsurgical technique accompanied by continuous electrophysiological monitoring has resulted in marked changes in the primary goals for this surgery. Whereas in the past the primary goal of vestibular schwannoma management was to preserve the patient's life, the objective in vestibular schwannoma treatment today is to preserve neurological function.

Long-term follow-up examinations show negligible recurrence rates, indicating that the aim of preservation of nerve function does not limit the completeness of tumor removal with modern neurosurgical techniques. Despite these advances in preserving the anatomical integrity of, for example, the cochlear nerve, losses of function and even deafness may occur postoperatively in some cases. Current biological and technical research in experimental and clinical settings addresses these problems. In this article, the authors report in detail the developments achieved in vestibular schwannoma surgery and the great clinicians to whom these results can be credited.

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Petra M. Klinge, Georg Berding, Thomas Brinker, Wolfram H. Knapp and Madjid Samii

Object

In this study the authors use positron emission tomography (PET) to investigate cerebral blood flow (CBF) and cerebrovascular reserve (CVR) in chronic hydrocephalus.

Methods

Ten patients whose mean age was 67 ± 10 years (mean ± standard deviation [SD]) were compared with 10 healthy volunteers who were 25 ±3 years of age. Global CBF and CVR were determined using 15O–H2O and PET prior to shunt placement and 7 days and 7 months thereafter. The CVR was measured using 1 g acetazolamide. Neurological status was assessed based on a score assigned according to the methods of Stein and Langfitt.

Seven months after shunt placement, five patients showed clinical improvement (Group A) and five did not (Group B). The average global CBF before shunt deployment was significantly reduced in comparison with the control group (40 ± 8 compared with 61 ± 7 ml/100 ml/minute; mean ± SD, p < 0.01). In Group A the CBF values were significantly lower than in Group B (36 ± 7 compared with 44 ± 8 ml/100 ml/minute; p < 0.05). The CVR before surgery, however, was not significantly different between groups (Group A = 43 ± 21%, Group B = 37 ± 29%). After shunt placement, there was an increase in the CVR in Group A to 52 ± 37% after 7 days and to 68 ± 47% after 7 months (p < 0.05), whereas in Group B the CVR decreased to 14 ± 18% (p < 0.05) after 7 days and returned to the preoperative level (39 ± 6%) 7 months after shunt placement.

Conclusions

The preliminary results indicate that a reduced baseline CBF before surgery does not indicate a poor prognosis. Baseline CBF before shunt placement and preoperative CVR are not predictive of clinical outcome. A decrease in the CVR early after shunt placement, however, is related to poor late clinical outcome, whereas early improvement in the CVR after shunt placement indicates a good prognosis.