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Neuroendoscopic biopsy of ventricular tumors: a multicentric experience

Piero Andrea Oppido, Alessandro Fiorindi, Lucia Benvenuti, Fabio Cattani, Saverio Cipri, Michelangelo Gangemi, Umberto Godano, Pierluigi Longatti, Carmelo Mascari, Enzo Morace, and Luigino Tosatto


Although neuroendoscopic biopsy is routinely performed, the safety and validity of this procedure has been studied only in small numbers of patients in single-center reports. The Section of Neuroendoscopy of the Italian Neurosurgical Society invited some of its members to review their own experience, gathering a sufficient number of cases for a wide analysis.


Retrospective data were collected by 7 centers routinely performing neuroendoscopic biopsies over a period of 10 years. Sixty patients with newly diagnosed intraventricular and paraventricular tumors were included. No patient harboring a colloid cyst was included. Data regarding clinical presentation, neuroimaging findings, operative techniques, pathological diagnosis, postoperative complications, and subsequent therapy were analyzed.


In all patients, a neuroendoscopic tumor biopsy was performed. In 38 patients (64%), obstructive hydrocephalus was present. In addition to the tumor biopsy, 32 patients (53%) underwent endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV), and 7 (12%) underwent septum pellucidotomy. Only 2 patients required a ventriculoperitoneal shunt shortly after the endoscopy procedure because ETV was not feasible. The major complication due to the endoscopy procedure was ventricular hemorrhage noted on the postoperative images in 8 cases (13%). Only 2 patients were symptomatic and required medical therapy. Infection occurred in only 1 case, and the other complications were all reversible. In no case did clinically significant sequelae affect the patient's outcome. Tumor types ranged across the spectrum and included glioma (low- and high-grade [27%]), pure germinoma (15%), pineal parenchymal tumor (12%), primary neuroectodermal tumor (4%), lymphoma (9%), metastasis (4%), craniopharyngioma (6%), and other tumor types (13%). In 10% of patients, the pathological findings were inconclusive. According to diagnosis, specific therapy was performed in 35% of patients: 17% underwent microsurgical removal, and 18% underwent chemotherapy or radiotherapy.


This is one of the largest series confirming the safety and validity of the neuroendoscopic biopsy procedure. Complications were relatively low (about 13%), and they were all reversible. Neuroendoscopic biopsy provided meaningful pathological data in 90% of patients, making subsequent tumor therapy feasible. Cerebrospinal fluid pathways can be restored by ETV or septum pellucidotomy (65%) to control intracranial hypertension. In light of the results obtained, a neuroendoscopic biopsy should be considered a possible alternative to the stereotactic biopsy in the diagnosis and treatment of ventricular or paraventricular tumors. Furthermore, it could be the only surgical procedure necessary for the treatment of selected tumors.

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Expanding lacunae causing triventricular hydrocephalus

Report of two cases

Mario Mascalchi, Fabrizio Salvi, Umberto Godano, Marco Nistri, Rosanna Taiuti, Michela Tosetti, Natale Villari, and Fabrio Calbucci

Two patients are reported in whom the presence of triventricular hydrocephalus and aqueductal obstruction or stenosis due to multiple expanding lacunae in the mesencephalothalamic region possibly corresponds to abnormally dilated perivascular spaces. Placement of a ventriculoperitoneal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunt in one patient and the performance of a third ventricle cisternotomy in the other reversed the hydrocephalic syndrome, but did not modify the complex neuroophthalmological disturbance and rubral tremor presumably related to the compressive effects of the lacunae on adjacent parenchyma. In one patient the number and size of the lacunae were increased 4 years after CSF shunt placement. A review of the literature revealed two cases in which magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated a similar, poorly understood pathological condition.