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Kaan Yagmurlu, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Mark C. Preul and Robert F. Spetzler

The authors describe a safe entry zone, the superior fovea triangle, on the floor of the fourth ventricle for resection of deep dorsal pontine lesions at the level of the facial colliculus. Clinical data from a patient undergoing a suboccipital telovelar transsuperior fovea triangle approach to a deep pontine cavernous malformation were reviewed and supplemented with 6 formalin-fixed adult human brainstem and 2 silicone-injected adult human cadaveric heads using the fiber dissection technique to illustrate the utility of this novel safe entry zone. The superior fovea has a triangular shape that is an important landmark for the motor nucleus of the trigeminal, abducens, and facial nerves. The inferior half of the superior fovea triangle may be incised to remove deep dorsal pontine lesions through the floor of the fourth ventricle. The superior fovea triangle may be used as a safe entry zone for dorsally located lesions at the level of the facial colliculus.

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Kaan Yagmurlu, Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Evgenii Belykh, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Peter Nakaji, Albert L. Rhoton Jr., Robert F. Spetzler and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this investigation was to modify the mini-pterional and mini-orbitozygomatic (mini-OZ) approaches in order to reduce the amount of tissue traumatization caused and to compare the use of the 2 approaches in the removal of circle of Willis aneurysms based on the authors' clinical experience and quantitative analysis.

METHODS

Three formalin-fixed adult cadaveric heads injected with colored silicone were examined. Surgical freedom and angle of attack of the mini-pterional and mini-OZ approaches were measured at 9 anatomical points, and the measurements were compared. The authors also retrospectively reviewed the cases of 396 patients with ruptured and unruptured single aneurysms in the circle of Willis treated by microsurgical techniques at their institution between January 2006 and November 2014.

RESULTS

A significant difference in surgical freedom was found in favor of the mini-pterional approach for access to the ipsilateral internal carotid artery (ICA) and middle cerebral artery (MCA) bifurcations, the most distal point of the ipsilateral posterior cerebral artery (PCA), and the basilar artery (BA) tip. No statistically significant differences were found between the mini-pterional and mini-OZ approaches for access to the posterior clinoid process, the most distal point of the superior cerebellar artery (SCA), the anterior communicating artery (ACoA), the contralateral ICA bifurcation, and the most distal point of the contralateral MCA. A trend toward increasing surgical freedom was found for the mini-OZ approach to the ACoA and the contralateral ICA bifurcation. The lengths exposed through the mini-OZ approach were longer than those exposed by the mini-pterional approach for the ipsilateral PCA segment (11.5 ± 1.9 mm) between the BA and the most distal point of the P2 segment of the PCA, for the ipsilateral SCA (10.5 ± 1.1 mm) between the BA and the most distal point of the SCA, and for the contralateral anterior cerebral artery (ACA) (21 ± 6.1 mm) between the ICA bifurcation and the most distal point of the A2 segment of the ACA. The exposed length of the contralateral MCA (24.2 ± 8.6 mm) between the contralateral ICA bifurcation and the most distal point of the MCA segment was longer through the mini-pterional approach. The vertical angle of attack (anteroposterior direction) was significantly greater with the mini-pterional approach than with the mini-OZ approach, except in the ACoA and contralateral ICA bifurcation. The horizontal angle of attack (mediolateral direction) was similar with both approaches, except in the ACoA, contralateral ICA bifurcation, and contralateral MCA bifurcation, where the angle was significantly increased in the mini-OZ approach.

CONCLUSIONS

The mini-pterional and mini-OZ approaches, as currently performed in select patients, provide less tissue traumatization (i.e., less temporal muscle manipulation, less brain parenchyma retraction) from the skin to the aneurysm than standard approaches. Anatomical quantitative analysis showed that the mini-OZ approach provides better exposure to the contralateral side for controlling the contralateral parent arteries and multiple aneurysms. The mini-pterional approach has greater surgical freedom (maneuverability) for ipsilateral circle of Willis aneurysms.

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João Luiz Vitorino Araujo, José C. E. Veiga, Hung Tzu Wen, Almir F. de Andrade, Manoel J. Teixeira, José P. Otoch, Albert L. Rhoton Jr., Mark C. Preul, Robert F. Spetzler and Eberval G. Figueiredo

OBJECTIVE

Access to the third ventricle is a veritable challenge to neurosurgeons. In this context, anatomical and morphometric studies are useful for establishing the limitations and advantages of a particular surgical approach. The transchoroidal approach is versatile and provides adequate exposure of the middle and posterior regions of the third ventricle. However, the fornix column limits the exposure of the anterior region of the third ventricle. There is evidence that the unilateral section of the fornix column has little effect on cognitive function. This study compared the anatomical exposure afforded by the transforniceal-transchoroidal approach with that of the transchoroidal approach. In addition, a morphometric evaluation of structures that are relevant to and common in the 2 approaches was performed.

METHODS

The anatomical exposure provided by the transcallosal-transchoroidal and transcallosal-transforniceal-transchoroidal approaches was compared in 8 fresh cadavers, using a neuronavigation system. The working area, microsurgical exposure area, and angular exposure on the longitudinal and transversal planes of 2 anatomical targets (tuber cinereum and cerebral aqueduct) were compared. Additionally, the thickness of the right frontal lobe parenchyma, thickness of the corpus callosum trunk, and longitudinal diameter of the interventricular foramen were measured. The values obtained were submitted to statistical analysis using the Wilcoxon test.

RESULTS

In the quantitative evaluation, compared with the transchoroidal approach, the transforniceal-transchoroidal approach provided a greater mean working area (transforniceal-transchoroidal 150 ± 11 mm2; transchoroidal 121 ± 8 mm2; p < 0.05), larger mean microsurgical exposure area (transforniceal-transchoroidal 101 ± 9 mm2; transchoroidal 80 ± 5 mm2; p < 0.05), larger mean angular exposure area on the longitudinal plane for the tuber cinereum (transforniceal-transchoroidal 71° ± 7°; transchoroidal 64° ± 6°; p < 0.05), and larger mean angular exposure area on the longitudinal plane for the cerebral aqueduct (transforniceal-transchoroidal 62° ± 6°; transchoroidal 55° ± 5°; p < 0.05). No differences were observed in angular exposure along the transverse axis for either anatomical target (tuber cinereum and cerebral aqueduct; p > 0.05). The mean thickness of the right frontal lobe parenchyma was 35 ± 3 mm, the mean thickness of the corpus callosum trunk was 10 ± 1 mm, and the mean longitudinal diameter of the interventricular foramen was 4.6 ± 0.4 mm. In the qualitative assessment, it was noted that the transforniceal-transchoroidal approach led to greater exposure of the third ventricle anterior region structures. There was no difference between approaches in the exposure of the structures of the middle and posterior region.

CONCLUSIONS

The transforniceal-transchoroidal approach provides greater surgical exposure of the third ventricle anterior region than that offered by the transchoroidal approach. In the population studied, morphometric analysis established mean values for anatomical structures common to both approaches.

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Evgenii Belykh, Ting Lei, Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Kaan Yagmurlu, Rami O. Almefty, Hai Sun, Kaith K. Almefty, Olga Belykh, Vadim A. Byvaltsev, Robert F. Spetzler, Peter Nakaji and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

Microvascular anastomosis is a basic neurosurgical technique that should be mastered in the laboratory. Human and bovine placentas have been proposed as convenient surgical practice models; however, the histologic characteristics of these tissues have not been compared with human cerebral vessels, and the models have not been validated as simulation training models. In this study, the authors assessed the construct, face, and content validities of microvascular bypass simulation models that used human and bovine placental vessels.

METHODS

The characteristics of vessel segments from 30 human and 10 bovine placentas were assessed anatomically and histologically. Microvascular bypasses were performed on the placenta models according to a delineated training module by “trained” participants (10 practicing neurosurgeons and 7 residents with microsurgical experience) and “untrained” participants (10 medical students and 3 residents without experience). Anastomosis performance and impressions of the model were assessed using the Northwestern Objective Microanastomosis Assessment Tool (NOMAT) scale and a posttraining survey.

RESULTS

Human placental arteries were found to approximate the M2–M4 cerebral and superficial temporal arteries, and bovine placental veins were found to approximate the internal carotid and radial arteries. The mean NOMAT performance score was 37.2 ± 7.0 in the untrained group versus 62.7 ± 6.1 in the trained group (p < 0.01; construct validity). A 50% probability of allocation to either group corresponded to 50 NOMAT points. In the posttraining survey, 16 of 17 of the trained participants (94%) scored the model's replication of real bypass surgery as high, and 16 of 17 (94%) scored the difficulty as “the same” (face validity). All participants, 30 of 30 (100%), answered positively to questions regarding the ability of the model to improve microsurgical technique (content validity).

CONCLUSIONS

Human placental arteries and bovine placental veins are convenient, anatomically relevant, and beneficial models for microneurosurgical training. Microanastomosis simulation using these models has high face, content, and construct validities. A NOMAT score of more than 50 indicated successful performance of the microanastomosis tasks.

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Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Timothy B. Mapstone, Jacob B. Archer, Christopher Wilson, Nicholas Theodore, Robert F. Spetzler and Mark C. Preul

An understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of tethered cord syndrome (TCS) and modern management strategies have only developed within the past few decades. Current understanding of this entity first began with the understanding and management of spina bifida; this later led to the gradual recognition of spina bifida occulta and the symptoms associated with tethering of the filum terminale. In the 17th century, Dutch anatomists provided the first descriptions and initiated surgical management efforts for spina bifida. In the 19th century, the term “spina bifida occulta” was coined and various presentations of spinal dysraphism were appreciated. The association of urinary, cutaneous, and skeletal abnormalities with spinal dysraphism was recognized in the 20th century. Early in the 20th century, some physicians began to suspect that traction on the conus medullaris caused myelodysplasia-related symptoms and that prophylactic surgical management could prevent the occurrence of clinical manifestations. It was not, however, until later in the 20th century that the term “tethered spinal cord” and the modern management of TCS were introduced. This gradual advancement in understanding at a time before the development of modern imaging modalities illustrates how, over the centuries, anatomists, pathologists, neurologists, and surgeons used clinical examination, a high level of suspicion, and interest in the subtle and overt clinical appearances of spinal dysraphism and TCS to advance understanding of pathophysiology, clinical appearance, and treatment of this entity. With the availability of modern imaging, spinal dysraphism can now be diagnosed and treated as early as the intrauterine stage.

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Eberval Gadelha Figueiredo, Manoel J. Teixeira, Robert F. Spetzler and Mark C. Preul

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Daniel D. Cavalcanti, Mark C. Preul, M. Yashar S. Kalani and Robert F. Spetzler

OBJECT

The aim of this study was to enhance the planning and use of microsurgical resection techniques for intrinsic brainstem lesions by better defining anatomical safe entry zones.

METHODS

Five cadaveric heads were dissected using 10 surgical approaches per head. Stepwise dissections focused on the actual areas of brainstem surface that were exposed through each approach and an analysis of the structures found, as well as which safe entry zones were accessible via each of the 10 surgical windows.

RESULTS

Thirteen safe entry zones have been reported and validated for approaching lesions in the brainstem, including the anterior mesencephalic zone, lateral mesencephalic sulcus, intercollicular region, peritrigeminal zone, supratrigeminal zone, lateral pontine zone, supracollicularzone, infracollicularzone, median sulcus of the fourth ventricle, anterolateral and posterior median sulci of the medulla, olivary zone, and lateral medullary zone. A discussion of the approaches, anatomy, and limitations of these entry zones is included.

CONCLUSIONS

A detailed understanding of the anatomy, area of exposure, and safe entry zones for each major approach allows for improved surgical planning and dissemination of the techniques required to successfully resect intrinsic brainstem lesions.

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Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Jennifer M. Eschbacher, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Jay D. Turner, Evgenii Belykh, Robert F. Spetzler, Peter Nakaji and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

This study evaluated the utility, specificity, and sensitivity of intraoperative confocal laser endomicroscopy (CLE) to provide diagnostic information during resection of human brain tumors.

METHODS

CLE imaging was used in the resection of intracranial neoplasms in 74 consecutive patients (31 male; mean age 47.5 years; sequential 10-month study period). Intraoperative in vivo and ex vivo CLE was performed after intravenous injection of fluorescein sodium (FNa). Tissue samples from CLE imaging–matched areas were acquired for comparison with routine histological analysis (frozen and permanent sections). CLE images were classified as diagnostic or nondiagnostic. The specificities and sensitivities of CLE and frozen sections for gliomas and meningiomas were calculated using permanent histological sections as the standard.

RESULTS

CLE images were obtained for each patient. The mean duration of intraoperative CLE system use was 15.7 minutes (range 3–73 minutes). A total of 20,734 CLE images were correlated with 267 biopsy specimens (mean number of images/biopsy location, in vivo 84, ex vivo 70). CLE images were diagnostic for 45.98% in vivo and 52.97% ex vivo specimens. After initiation of CLE, an average of 14 in vivo images and 7 ex vivo images were acquired before identification of a first diagnostic image. CLE specificity and sensitivity were, respectively, 94% and 91% for gliomas and 93% and 97% for meningiomas.

CONCLUSIONS

CLE with FNa provided intraoperative histological information during brain tumor removal. Specificities and sensitivities of CLE for gliomas and meningiomas were comparable to those for frozen sections. These data suggest that CLE could allow the interactive identification of tumor areas, substantially improving intraoperative decisions during the resection of brain tumors.

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Nikolay L. Martirosyan, M. Yashar S. Kalani, G. Michael Lemole Jr., Robert F. Spetzler, Mark C. Preul and Nicholas Theodore

OBJECT

The arterial basket of the conus medullaris (ABCM) consists of 1 or 2 arteries arising from the anterior spinal artery (ASA) and circumferentially connecting the ASA and the posterior spinal arteries (PSAs). The arterial basket can be involved in arteriovenous fistulas and arteriovenous malformations of the conus. In this article, the authors describe the microsurgical anatomy of the ABCM with emphasis on its morphometric parameters and important role in the intrinsic blood supply of the conus medullaris.

METHODS

The authors performed microsurgical dissections on 16 formalin-fixed human spinal cords harvested within 24 hours of death. The course, diameter, and branching angles of the arteries comprising the ABCM were then identified and measured. In addition, histological sections were obtained to identify perforating vessels arising from the ABCM.

RESULTS

The ASA tapers as it nears the conus medullaris (mean preconus diameter 0.7 ± 0.12 mm vs mean conus diameter 0.38 ± 0.08 mm). The ASA forms an anastomotic basket with the posterior spinal artery (PSA) via anastomotic branches. In most of the specimens (n= 13, 81.3%), bilateral arteries formed connections between the ASA and PSA. However, in the remaining specimens (n= 3, 18.7%), a unilateral right-sided anastomotic artery was identified. The mean diameter of the right ABCM branch was 0.49 ± 0.13 mm, and the mean diameter of the left branch was 0.53 ± 0.14 mm. The mean branching angles of the arteries forming the anastomotic basket were 95.9° ± 36.6° and 90° ± 34.3° for the right- and left-sided arteries, respectively. In cases of bilateral arterial anastomoses between the ASA and PSA, the mean distance between the origins of the arteries was 4.5 ± 3.3 mm. Histological analysis revealed numerous perforating vessels supplying tissue of the conus medullaris.

CONCLUSIONS

The ABCM is a critical anastomotic connection between the ASA and PSA, which play an important role in the intrinsic blood supply of the conus medullaris. The ABCM provides an important compensatory function in the blood supply of the spinal cord. Its involvement in conus medullaris vascular malformations makes it a critical anatomical structure.

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Ali M. Elhadi, Joseph M. Zabramski, Kaith K. Almefty, George A. C. Mendes, Peter Nakaji, Cameron G. McDougall, Felipe C. Albuquerque, Mark C. Preul and Robert F. Spetzler

OBJECT

Hemorrhagic origin is unidentifiable in 10%–20% of patients presenting with spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). While the patients in such cases do well clinically, there is a lack of long-term angiographic followup. The authors of the present study evaluated the long-term clinical and angiographic follow-up of a patient cohort with SAH of unknown origin that had been enrolled in the Barrow Ruptured Aneurysm Trial (BRAT).

METHODS

The BRAT database was searched for patients with SAH of unknown origin despite having undergone two or more angiographic studies as well as MRI of the brain and cervical spine. Follow-up was available at 6 months and 1 and 3 years after treatment. Analysis included demographic details, clinical outcome (Glasgow Outcome Scale, modified Rankin Scale [mRS]), and repeat vascular imaging.

RESULTS

Subarachnoid hemorrhage of unknown etiology was identified in 57 (11.9%) of the 472 patients enrolled in the BRAT study between March 2003 and January 2007. The mean age for this group was 51 years, and 40 members (70%) of the group were female. Sixteen of 56 patients (28.6%) required placement of an external ventricular drain for hydrocephalus, and 4 of these subsequently required a ventriculoperitoneal shunt. Delayed cerebral ischemia occurred in 4 patients (7%), leading to stroke in one of them. There were no rebleeding events. Eleven patients were lost to followup, and one patient died of unrelated causes. At the 3-year follow-up, 4 (9.1%) of 44 patients had a poor outcome (mRS > 2), and neurovascular imaging, which was available in 33 patients, was negative.

CONCLUSIONS

Hydrocephalus and delayed cerebral ischemia, while infrequent, do occur in SAH of unknown origin. Long-term neurological outcomes are generally good. A thorough evaluation to rule out an etiology of hemorrhage is necessary; however, imaging beyond 6 weeks from ictus has little utility, and rebleeding is unexpected.