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Sacit Bulent Omay, João Paulo Almeida, Yu-Ning Chen, Sathwik R. Shetty, Buqing Liang, Shilei Ni, Vijay K. Anand and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Craniopharyngiomas arise from the pituitary stalk, and in adults they are generally located posterior to the chiasm extending up into the third ventricle. The extended endonasal approach (EEA) can provide an ideal corridor between the bottom of the optic chiasm and the top of the pituitary gland (chiasm-pituitary corridor [CPC]) for their removal. A narrow CPC in patients with a prefixed chiasm and a large tumor extending up and behind the chiasm has been considered a contraindication to EEA, with a high risk of visual deterioration and subtotal resection.

METHODS

A database of all patients treated in the authors’ center (Weill Cornell Medical College, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital) between July 2004 and August 2016 was reviewed. Patients with craniopharyngiomas who underwent EEA with the goal of gross-total resection (GTR) were included in the study. Patients with postfixed chiasm or limited available preoperative imaging were excluded. Using preoperative contrast-enhanced T1-weighted sagittal midline MR images, the authors calculated the CPC as well as the distance from the chiasm to the top of the tumor (CTOT). From these numbers, they calculated a ratio of the CPC to the CTOT as a measure of difficulty in removing the tumors through the EEA and called this ratio the corridor index (CI). The relationship between the CI and the ability to achieve GTR and visual outcome were measured.

RESULTS

Thirty-four patients were included in the study. The mean CPC was 10.1 mm (range 5.2–19.1 mm). The mean CTOT was 12.8 mm (range 0–28.3 mm). The median CI was 0.8; the CI ranged from 0.4 to infinity (for tumors with a CTOT of 0). Thirty-two patients had GTR (94.1%) and 2 had subtotal resection. The CPC value had no relationship with our ability to achieve GTR and no effect on visual or endocrine outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

EEA for craniopharyngioma is generally considered the first-line surgical approach. Although a narrow corridor between the top of the pituitary gland and the bottom of the chiasm may seem to be a relative contraindication to surgery for larger tumors, the authors’ data do not bear this out. EEA appears to be a successful technique for the majority of midline craniopharyngiomas.

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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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Andrew F. Alalade, Elizabeth Ogando-Rivas, Jerome Boatey, Mark M. Souweidane, Vijay K. Anand, Jeffrey P. Greenfield and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

The expanded endonasal endoscopic transsphenoidal approach has become increasingly used for craniopharyngioma surgery in the pediatric population, but questions still persist regarding its utility in younger children, in recurrent and irradiated tumors, and in masses primarily located in the suprasellar region. The narrow corridor, incomplete pneumatization, and fear of hypothalamic injury have traditionally relegated this approach to application in older children with mostly cystic craniopharyngiomas centered in the sella. The authors present a series of consecutive pediatric patients in whom the endonasal endoscopic approach was used to remove craniopharyngiomas from patients of varied ages, regardless of the location of the tumor and previous treatments or surgeries, to ascertain if the traditional concerns about limitations of this approach are worth reevaluating

METHODS

Eleven consecutive pediatric patients (age ≤ 18 years) underwent surgery via an endoscopic transsphenoidal approach at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center from 2007 to 2016. The authors recorded the location, consistency, and size of the lesion, assessed for hypothalamic invasion radiographically, calculated skull base measurements, and assessed parameters such as extent of resection, visual function, endocrinological function, weight gain, and return-to-school status.

RESULTS

The average age at the time of surgery was 7.9 years (range 4–17 years) and the tumor sizes ranged from 1.3 to 41.7 cm3. Five cases were purely suprasellar, 5 had solid components, 4 were reoperations, and 5 had a conchal sphenoid aeration. Nevertheless, gross-total resection was achieved in 45% of the patients and 50% of those in whom it was the goal of surgery, without any correlation with the location, tumor consistency, or the age of the patient. Near-total resection, subtotal resection, or biopsy was performed intentionally in the remaining patients to avoid hypothalamic injury. Anterior pituitary dysfunction occurred in 81.8% of the patients, and 63.3% developed diabetes insipidus . Two patients (18%) had a greater than 9% increase in body mass index. Visual function was stable or improved in 73%. All children returned to an academic environment, with 10 of them in the grade appropriate for their age. There was a single case of each of the following: CSF leak, loss of vision unilaterally, and abscess.

CONCLUSIONS

The endoscopic transsphenoidal approach is suitable for removing pediatric craniopharyngiomas even in young children with suprasellar tumors, conchal sphenoid sinus, recurrent tumors, and tumors with solid components. The extent of resection is dictated by intrinsic hypothalamic tumor invasiveness rather than the approach. The endoscopic transsphenoidal approach affords the ability to directly inspect the hypothalamus to determine invasion, which may help spare the patient from hypothalamic injury. Irrespective of approach, the rates of postoperative endocrinopathy remain high and the learning curve for the approach to a relatively rare tumor is steep.

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Walid I. Essayed, Harminder Singh, Gennaro Lapadula, Gustavo J. Almodovar-Mercado, Vijay K. Anand and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Sporadic cases of endonasal intraaxial brainstem surgery have been reported in the recent literature. The authors endeavored to assess the feasibility and limitations of endonasal endoscopic surgery for approaching lesions in the ventral portion of the brainstem.

METHODS

Five human cadaveric heads were used to assess the anatomy and to record various measurements. Extended transsphenoidal and transclival approaches were performed. After exposing the brainstem, white matter dissection was attempted through this endoscopic window, and additional key measurements were taken.

RESULTS

The rostral exposure of the brainstem was limited by the sella. The lateral limits of the exposure were the intracavernous carotid arteries at the level of the sellar floor, the intrapetrous carotid arteries at the level of the petrous apex, and the inferior petrosal sinuses toward the basion. Caudal extension necessitated partial resection of the anterior C-1 arch and the odontoid process. The midline pons and medulla were exposed in all specimens. Trigeminal nerves were barely visible without the use of angled endoscopes. Access to the peritrigeminal safe zone for gaining entry into the brainstem is medially limited by the pyramidal tract, with a mean lateral pyramidal distance (LPD) of 4.8 ± 0.8 mm. The mean interpyramidal distance was 3.6 ± 0.5 mm, and it progressively decreased toward the pontomedullary junction. The corticospinal tracts (CSTs) coursed from deep to superficial in a craniocaudal direction. The small caliber of the medulla with very superficial CSTs left no room for a safe ventral dissection. The mean pontobasilar midline index averaged at 0.44 ± 0.1.

CONCLUSIONS

Endoscopic endonasal approaches are best suited for pontine intraaxial tumors when they are close to the midline and strictly anterior to the CST, or for exophytic lesions. Approaching the medulla is anatomically feasible, but the superficiality of the eloquent tracts and interposed nerves limit the safe entry zones. Pituitary transposition after sellar opening is necessary to access the mesencephalon.

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Hazem M. Negm, Rafid Al-Mahfoudh, Manish Pai, Harminder Singh, Salomon Cohen, Sivashanmugam Dhandapani, Vijay K. Anand and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Regrowth of the lesion after surgical removal of pituitary adenomas is uncommon unless subtotal resection was originally achieved in the first surgery. Treatment for recurrent tumor can involve surgery or radiotherapy. Locations of residual tumor may vary based on the original approach. The authors evaluated the specific sites of residual or recurrent tumor after different transsphenoidal approaches and describe the surgical outcome of endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal reoperation.

METHODS

The authors analyzed a prospectively collected database of a consecutive series of patients who had undergone endoscopic endonasal surgeries for residual or recurrent pituitary adenomas after an original transsphenoidal microscopic or endoscopic surgery. The site of the recurrent tumor and outcome after reoperation were noted and correlated with the primary surgical approach. The chi-square or Fisher exact test was used to compare categorical variables, and the Mann-Whitney U-test was used to compare continuous variables between surgical groups.

RESULTS

Forty-one patients underwent surgery for residual/recurrent pituitary adenoma from 2004 to 2015 at Weill Cornell Medical College. The previous treatment was a transsphenoidal microscopic (n = 22) and endoscopic endonasal (n = 19) surgery. In 83.3% patients (n = 30/36) there was postoperative residual tumor after the initial surgery. A residual tumor following endonasal endoscopic surgery was less common in the sphenoid sinus (10.5%; 2/19) than it was after microscopic transsphenoidal surgery (72.7%; n =16/22; p = 0.004). Gross-total resection (GTR) was achieved in 58.5%, and either GTR or near-total resection was achieved in 92.7%. Across all cases, the average extent of resection was 93.7%. The rate of GTR was lower in patients with Knosp-Steiner Grade 3–4 invasion (p < 0.0005). Postoperative CSF leak was seen in only one case (2.4%), which stopped with lumbar drainage. Visual fields improved in 52.9% (n = 9/17) of patients and were stable in 47% (n = 8/17). Endocrine remission was achieved in 77.8% (n = 14/18) of cases, 12 by surgery alone and 2 by adjuvant medical (n = 1) and radiation (n = 1) therapy. New diabetes insipidus occurred in 4.9% (n = 2/41) of patients—in one of whom an additional single anterior hormonal axis was compromised—and 9.7% (n = 4/41) of patients had a new anterior pituitary hormonal insufficiency.

CONCLUSIONS

Endonasal endoscopic reoperation is extremely effective at removing recurrent or residual pituitary adenomas that remain after a prior surgery, and it may be preferable to radiation therapy particularly in symptomatic patients. Achievement of GTR is less common when lateral cavernous sinus invasion is present. The locations of residual/recurrent tumor were more likely sphenoidal and parasellar following a prior microscopic transsphenoidal surgery and sellar following a prior endonasal endoscopic surgery.

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Richard D. Murray, Rachel Friedlander, Samuel Hanz, Harminder Singh, Vijay K. Anand and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

The anterior skull base is a common site for the spontaneous development of meningoceles, encephaloceles, and meningoencephaloceles that can lead to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) fistula formation, particularly in association with idiopathic intracranial hypertension. In some circumstances the lesions are difficult to localize. Whether all sites in the anterior skull base are equally prone to fistula formation or whether they are distributed randomly throughout the anterior skull base is unknown, although the anterior cribriform plate has been proposed as the most frequent location. The purpose of this study was to identify sites of predilection in order to provide assistance for clinicians in finding occult leaks and increase the understanding of the etiology of this pathology.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of a prospectively acquired surgical database of all endonasal endoscopic surgeries performed at Weill Cornell Medical College by the senior authors. Spontaneous CSF fistulas of the anterior skull base were identified. The anatomical sites of the defects were located on radiographic images and normalized to a theoretical 4 × 2 grid representing the anterior midline skull base. Data from the left and right skull base were combined to increase statistical power. This grid was then used to analyze the distribution of defects. Frequency analysis was performed by means of a chi-square test, with a subsequent Monte Carlo simulation to further strengthen the statistical support of the conclusions.

RESULTS

Nineteen cases of spontaneous CSF fistulas were identified. Frequency analysis using chi-square indicated a nonrandom distribution of sites (p = 0.035). Monte Carlo simulation supported this conclusion (p = 0.034). Seventy-four percent of cases occurred in the cribriform plate (p = 0.086). Moreover, 37% of all defects occurred in the posterior third of the cribriform plate.

CONCLUSIONS

Anterior skull base spontaneous CSF leaks are distributed in a nonrandom fashion. The most likely site of origin of the spontaneous CSF leaks of the anterior midline skull base is the cribriform plate, particularly the posterior third of the plate, likely because of the lack of significant thick bony buttressing. Clinicians searching for occult spontaneous leaks of the anterior skull base should examine the cribriform plate, especially the posterior third with particularly close scrutiny.

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A. Gabriella Wernicke, Andrew W. Smith, Shoshana Taube, Menachem Z. Yondorf, Bhupesh Parashar, Samuel Trichter, Lucy Nedialkova, Albert Sabbas, Paul Christos, Rohan Ramakrishna, Susan C. Pannullo, Philip E. Stieg and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Managing patients whose intraparenchymal brain metastases recur after radiotherapy remains a challenge. Intraoperative cesium-131 (Cs-131) brachytherapy performed at the time of neurosurgical resection may represent an excellent salvage treatment option. The authors evaluated the outcomes of this novel treatment with permanent intraoperative Cs-131 brachytherapy.

METHODS

Thirteen patients with 15 metastases to the brain that recurred after stereotactic radiosurgery and/or whole brain radiotherapy were treated between 2010 and 2015. Stranded Cs-131 seeds were placed as a permanent volume implant. Prescription dose was 80 Gy at 5-mm depth from the resection cavity surface. The primary end point was resection cavity freedom from progression (FFP). Resection cavity freedom from progression (FFP), regional FFP, distant FFP, median survival, overall survival (OS), and toxicity were assessed.

RESULTS

The median duration of follow-up after salvage treatment was 5 months (range 0.5–18 months). The patients' median age was 64 years (range 51–74 years). The median resected tumor diameter was 2.9 cm (range 1.0–5.6 cm). The median number of seeds implanted was 19 (range 10–40), with a median activity per seed of 2.25 U (range 1.98–3.01 U) and median total activity of 39.6 U (range 20.0–95.2 U). The 1-year actuarial local FFP was 83.3%. The median OS was 7 months, and 1-year OS was 24.7%. Complications included infection (3), pseudomeningocele (1), seizure (1), and asymptomatic radionecrosis (RN) (1).

CONCLUSIONS

After failure of prior irradiation of brain metastases, re-irradiation with intraoperative Cs-131 brachytherapy implants provides durable local control and limits the risk of RN. The authors' initial experience demonstrates that this treatment approach is well tolerated and safe for patients with previously irradiated tumors after failure of more than 1 radiotherapy regimen and that it results in excellent response rates and minimal toxicity.

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Harminder Singh, Walid I. Essayed, Ajit Jada, Nelson Moussazadeh, Sivashanmugam Dhandapani, Sarang Rote and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

The authors describe the supraorbital keyhole approach to the contralateral medial optic nerve and tract, both in a series of cadaveric dissections and in 2 patients. They also discuss the indications and contraindications for this procedure.

METHODS

In 3 cadaver heads, bilateral supraorbital keyhole minicraniotomies were performed to expose the ipsilateral and contralateral optic nerves. The extent of exposure of the medial optic nerve was assessed. In 2 patients, a contralateral supraorbital keyhole approach was used to remove pathology of the contralateral medial optic nerve and tract.

RESULTS

The supraorbital keyhole craniotomy provided better exposure of the contralateral superomedial nerve than it did of the same portion of the ipsilateral nerve. In both patients gross-total resections of the pathology was achieved.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors demonstrate the suitability of the contralateral supraorbital keyhole approach for lesions involving the superomedial optic nerve.

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Aikaterini Patrona, Kunal S. Patel, Evan D. Bander, Alpesh Mehta, Apostolos John Tsiouris, Vijay K. Anand and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Surgery within the cavernous sinus (CS) remains a controversial topic because of the delicate and complex anatomy. The risk also varies with tumor consistency. Softer tumors such as pituitary adenomas are more likely to be surgically treated, while firm tumors such as meningiomas are often treated with radiosurgery. However, a wide range of pathologies that can involve the CS are amenable to surgery. The authors describe and analyze their results using endonasal endoscopic “medial-to-lateral” approaches for nonadenomatous, nonmeningeal tumors, in relation to the degree of invasion within the CS.

METHODS

A prospectively acquired database of consecutive endoscopic approaches for tumors with verified intraoperative CS invasion was reviewed. Pituitary adenomas and meningiomas were excluded. Degree of invasion of the CS was classified using the Knosp-Steiner (KS) grading system as well as the percentage of cavernous carotid artery (CCA) encasement. Extent of resection of the entire tumor and of the CS component was assessed by independent neuroradiologists using volumetric measurements of the pre- and postoperative MRI studies. Demographic data and complications were noted.

RESULTS

Fifteen patients (mean age 51.1 years who received endoscopic surgery between 2007 and 2013 met the selection criteria. There were 11 malignant tumors, including chordoma, chondrosarcoma, hemangiopericytoma, lymphoma, and metastatic cancer, and 4 benign tumors, including 3 cavernous hemangiomas and 1 dermoid. All cases were discussed before treatment in a tumor board. Adjuvant treatment options included chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The mean pre- and postoperative tumor volumes were 12.74 ml and 3.86 ml. Gross-total resection (GTR; ie, resection greater than 95%) was the goal in 13 cases and was achieved in 6 patients (46%) while in addition 5 patients had a greater than 80% resection. Gross-total resection in the CS was accomplished in 55% of the tumors with KS Grades 1–2 and in 16.6% of the tumors with KS grades 3–4, respectively. Likewise, GTR was accomplished in 55% of the tumors with CCA encasement under 75% and in 14.3% of the lesions with CCA encasement over 75%, irrespective of tumor volume and underlying pathology. There were 18 preexisting cranial neuropathies involving cranial nerves III–VI, of which 9 fully resolved, 4 improved, and 3 remained unchanged; 2 of these worsened with tumor recurrence. Surgical complications included 1 transient new cranial nerve VI palsy associated with Horner's syndrome and 1 case of panhypopituitarism. There were no postoperative CSF leaks and no infections. The mean extended follow-up was 34.4 months.

CONCLUSIONS

Endonasal endoscopic approaches can play a role in the management of nonmeningeal, nonadenomatous tumors invading the CS, either through biopsy, debulking, or GTR. An advantage of this method is the relief of preexisting cranial neuropathies with low risk for new neurological deficit. Extent of resection within the CS varies with KS grade and degree of carotid encasement irrespective of the underlying pathology. The goals of surgery should be clearly established preoperatively in consultation with radiation and medical oncologists.

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Sivashanmugam Dhandapani, Harminder Singh, Hazem M. Negm, Salomon Cohen, Mark M. Souweidane, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Vijay K. Anand and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Craniopharyngiomas can be difficult to remove completely based on their intimate relationship with surrounding visual and endocrine structures. Reoperations are not uncommon but have been associated with higher rates of complications and lower extents of resection. So radiation is often offered as an alternative to reoperation. The endonasal endoscopic transsphenoidal approach has been used in recent years for craniopharyngiomas previously removed with craniotomy. The impact of this approach on reoperations has not been widely investigated.

METHODS

The authors reviewed a prospectively acquired database of endonasal endoscopic resections of craniopharyngiomas over 11 years at Weill Cornell Medical College, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, performed by the senior authors. Reoperations were separated from first operations. Pre- and postoperative visual and endocrine function, tumor size, body mass index (BMI), quality of life (QOL), extent of resection (EOR), impact of prior radiation, and complications were compared between groups. EOR was divided into gross-total resection (GTR, 100%), near-total resection (NTR, > 95%), and subtotal resection (STR, < 95%). Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed.

RESULTS

Of the total 57 endonasal surgical procedures, 22 (39%) were reoperations. First-time operations and reoperations did not differ in tumor volume, radiological configuration, or patients' BMI. Hypopituitarism and diabetes insipidus (DI) were more common before reoperations (82% and 55%, respectively) compared with first operations (60% and 8.6%, respectively; p < 0.001). For the 46 patients in whom GTR was intended, rates of GTR and GTR+NTR were not significantly different between first operations (90% and 97%, respectively) and reoperations (80% and 100%, respectively). For reoperations, prior radiation and larger tumor volume had lower rates of GTR. Vision improved equally in first operations (80%) compared with reoperations (73%). New anterior pituitary deficits were more common in first operations compared with reoperations (51% vs 23%, respectively; p = 0.08), while new DI was more common in reoperations compared with first-time operations (80% vs 47%, respectively; p = 0.08). Nonendocrine complications occurred in 2 (3.6%) first-time operations and no reoperations. Tumor regrowth occurred in 6 patients (11%) over a median follow-up of 46 months and was not different between first versus reoperations, but was associated with STR (33%) compared with GTR+NTR (4%; p = 0.02) and with not receiving radiation after STR (67% vs 22%; p = 0.08). The overall BMI increased significantly from 28.7 to 34.8 kg/m2 over 10 years. Six months after surgery, there was a significant improvement in QOL, which was similar between first-time operations and reoperations, and negatively correlated with STR.

CONCLUSIONS

Endonasal endoscopic transsphenoidal reoperation results in similar EOR, visual outcome, and improvement in QOL as first-time operations, with no significant increase in complications. EOR is more impacted by tumor volume and prior radiation. Reoperations should be offered to patients with recurrent craniopharyngiomas and may be preferable to radiation in patients in whom GTR or NTR can be achieved.