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Sudesh S. Raju, Ajay Niranjan, Edward A. Monaco III, John C. Flickinger, and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative disease that can lead to severe intention tremor in some patients. In several case reports, conventional radiotherapy has been reported to possibly exacerbate MS. Radiosurgery dramatically limits normal tissue irradiation to potentially avoid such a problem. Gamma Knife thalamotomy (GKT) has been established as a minimally invasive technique that is effective in treating essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease–related tremor. The goal in this study was to analyze the outcomes of GKT in patients suffering from medically refractory MS-related tremor.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively studied the outcomes of 15 patients (mean age 46.5 years) who had undergone GKT over a 15-year period (1998–2012). Fourteen patients underwent GKT at a median maximum dose of 140 Gy (range 130–150 Gy) using a single 4-mm isocenter. One patient underwent GKT at a dose of 140 Gy delivered via two 4-mm isocenters (3 mm apart). The posteroinferior region of the nucleus ventralis intermedius (VIM) was the target for all GKTs. The Fahn-Tolosa-Marin clinical tremor rating scale was used to evaluate tremor, handwriting, drawing, and drinking. The median time to the last follow-up was 39 months.

RESULTS

After GKT, 13 patients experienced tremor improvement on the side contralateral to surgery. Four patients noted tremor arrest at a median of 4.5 months post-GKT. Seven patients had excellent tremor improvement and 6 had good tremor improvement. Four patients noted excellent functional improvement, 8 noted good functional improvement, and 1 noted satisfactory functional improvement. Three patients experienced diminished tremor relief at a median of 18 months after radiosurgery. Two patients experienced temporary adverse radiation effects. Another patient developed a large thalamic cyst 60 months after GKT, which was successfully managed with Ommaya reservoir placement.

CONCLUSIONS

Gamma Knife thalamotomy was found to be a minimally invasive and beneficial procedure for medically refractory MS tremor.

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Mohana Rao Patibandla, Dale Ding, Hideyuki Kano, Robert M. Starke, John Y. K. Lee, David Mathieu, Jamie Whitesell, John T. Pierce, Paul P. Huang, Douglas Kondziolka, Caleb Feliciano, Rafael Rodriguez-Mercado, Luis Almodovar, Inga S. Grills, Danilo Silva, Mahmoud Abbassy, Symeon Missios, Gene H. Barnett, L. Dade Lunsford, and Jason P. Sheehan

OBJECTIVE

The role of and technique for stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) in the management of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) have evolved over the past four decades. The aim of this multicenter, retrospective cohort study was to compare the SRS outcomes of AVMs treated during different time periods.

METHODS

The authors selected patients with AVMs who underwent single-session SRS at 8 different centers from 1988 to 2014 with follow-up ≥ 6 months. The SRS eras were categorized as early (1988–2000) or modern (2001–2014). Statistical analyses were performed to compare the baseline characteristics and outcomes of the early versus modern SRS eras. Favorable outcome was defined as AVM obliteration, no post-SRS hemorrhage, and no permanently symptomatic radiation-induced changes (RICs).

RESULTS

The study cohort comprised 2248 patients with AVMs, including 1584 in the early and 664 in the modern SRS eras. AVMs in the early SRS era were significantly smaller (p < 0.001 for maximum diameter and volume), and they were treated with a significantly higher radiosurgical margin dose (p < 0.001). The obliteration rate was significantly higher in the early SRS era (65% vs 51%, p < 0.001), and earlier SRS treatment period was an independent predictor of obliteration in the multivariate analysis (p < 0.001). The rates of post-SRS hemorrhage and radiological, symptomatic, and permanent RICs were not significantly different between the two groups. Favorable outcome was achieved in a significantly higher proportion of patients in the early SRS era (61% vs 45%, p < 0.001), but the earlier SRS era was not statistically significant in the multivariate analysis (p = 0.470) with favorable outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

Despite considerable advances in SRS technology, refinement of AVM selection, and contemporary multimodality AVM treatment, the study failed to observe substantial improvements in SRS favorable outcomes or obliteration for patients with AVMs over time. Differences in baseline AVM characteristics and SRS treatment parameters may partially account for the significantly lower obliteration rates in the modern SRS era. However, improvements in patient selection and dose planning are necessary to optimize the utility of SRS in the contemporary management of AVMs.

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Mohana Rao Patibandla, Dale Ding, Hideyuki Kano, Zhiyuan Xu, John Y. K. Lee, David Mathieu, Jamie Whitesell, John T. Pierce, Paul P. Huang, Douglas Kondziolka, Caleb Feliciano, Rafael Rodriguez-Mercado, Luis Almodovar, Inga S. Grills, Danilo Silva, Mahmoud Abbassy, Symeon Missios, Gene H. Barnett, L. Dade Lunsford, and Jason P. Sheehan

OBJECTIVE

Due to the complexity of Spetzler-Martin (SM) Grade IV–V arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), the management of these lesions remains controversial. The aims of this multicenter, retrospective cohort study were to evaluate the outcomes after single-session stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for SM Grade IV–V AVMs and determine predictive factors.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively pooled data from 233 patients (mean age 33 years) with SM Grade IV (94.4%) or V AVMs (5.6%) treated with single-session SRS at 8 participating centers in the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation. Pre-SRS embolization was performed in 71 AVMs (30.5%). The mean nidus volume, SRS margin dose, and follow-up duration were 9.7 cm3, 17.3 Gy, and 84.5 months, respectively. Statistical analyses were performed to identify factors associated with post-SRS outcomes.

RESULTS

At a mean follow-up interval of 84.5 months, favorable outcome was defined as AVM obliteration, no post-SRS hemorrhage, and no permanently symptomatic radiation-induced changes (RIC) and was achieved in 26.2% of patients. The actuarial obliteration rates at 3, 7, 10, and 12 years were 15%, 34%, 37%, and 42%, respectively. The annual post-SRS hemorrhage rate was 3.0%. Symptomatic and permanent RIC occurred in 10.7% and 4% of the patients, respectively. Only larger AVM diameter (p = 0.04) was found to be an independent predictor of unfavorable outcome in the multivariate logistic regression analysis. The rate of favorable outcome was significantly lower for unruptured SM Grade IV–V AVMs compared with ruptured ones (p = 0.042). Prior embolization was a negative independent predictor of AVM obliteration (p = 0.024) and radiologically evident RIC (p = 0.05) in the respective multivariate analyses.

CONCLUSIONS

In this multi-institutional study, single-session SRS had limited efficacy in the management of SM Grade IV–V AVMs. Favorable outcome was only achieved in a minority of unruptured SM Grade IV–V AVMs, which supports less frequent utilization of SRS for the management of these lesions. A volume-staged SRS approach for large AVMs represents an alternative approach for high-grade AVMs, but it requires further investigation.

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Gautam U. Mehta, Georgios Zenonos, Mohana Rao Patibandla, Chung Jung Lin, Amparo Wolf, Inga Grills, David Mathieu, Brendan McShane, John Y. Lee, Kevin Blas, Douglas Kondziolka, Cheng-Chia Lee, L. Dade Lunsford, and Jason P. Sheehan

OBJECTIVE

Meningiomas are the most common benign extramedullary lesions of the foramen magnum; however, their optimal management remains undefined. Given their location, foramen magnum meningiomas (FMMs) can cause significant morbidity, and complete microsurgical removal can be challenging. Anterior and anterolateral FMMs carry greater risks with surgery, but they comprise the majority of these lesions. As an alternative to resection, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) has been used to treat FMMs in small case series. To more clearly define the outcomes of SRS and to delineate a rational management paradigm for these lesions, the authors analyzed the safety and efficacy of SRS for FMM in an international multicenter trial.

METHODS

Seven medical centers participating in the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation (IGKRF) provided data for this retrospective cohort study. Patients who were treated with Gamma Knife radiosurgery and whose clinical and radiological follow-up was longer than 6 months were eligible for study inclusion. Data from pre- and post-SRS radiological and clinical evaluations were analyzed. Stereotactic radiosurgery treatment variables were recorded.

RESULTS

Fifty-seven patients (39 females and 18 males, with a median age of 64 years) met the study inclusion criteria. Thirty-two percent had undergone prior microsurgical resection. Patients most frequently presented with cranial neuropathy (39%), headache (35%), numbness (32%), and ataxia (30%). Median pre-SRS tumor volume was 2.9 cm3. Median SRS margin dose was 12.5 Gy (range 10–16 Gy). At the last follow-up after SRS, 49% of tumors were stable, 44% had regressed, and 7% had progressed. Progression-free survival rates at 5 and 10 years were each 92%. A greater margin dose was associated with a significantly increased likelihood of tumor regression, with 53% of tumors treated with > 12 Gy regressing. Fifty-two percent of symptomatic patients noted some clinical improvement. Adverse radiation effects were limited to hearing loss and numbness in 1 patient (2%).

CONCLUSIONS

Stereotactic radiosurgery for FMM frequently results in tumor control or tumor regression, as well as symptom improvement. Margin doses > 12 Gy were associated with increased rates of tumor regression. Stereotactic radiosurgery was generally safe and well tolerated. Given its risk-benefit profile, SRS may be particularly useful in the management of small- to moderate-volume anterior and anterolateral FMMs.

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Cheng-Chia Lee, Jason P. Sheehan, Hideyuki Kano, Berkcan Akpinar, Roberto Martinez-Alvarez, Nuria Martinez-Moreno, Wan-Yuo Guo, L. Dade Lunsford, and Kang-Du Liu

OBJECTIVE

Cavernous sinus hemangiomas (CSHs) are rare vascular tumors. A direct microsurgical approach usually results in massive hemorrhage and incomplete tumor resection. Although stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) has emerged as a therapeutic alternative to microsurgery, outcome studies are few. Authors of the present study evaluated the role of SRS for CSH.

METHODS

An international multicenter study was conducted to review outcome data in 31 patients with CSH. Eleven patients had initial microsurgery before SRS, and the other 20 patients (64.5%) underwent Gamma Knife SRS as the primary management for their CSH. Median age at the time of radiosurgery was 47 years, and 77.4% of patients had cranial nerve dysfunction before SRS. Patients received a median tumor margin dose of 12.6 Gy (range 12–19 Gy) at a median isodose of 55%.

RESULTS

Tumor regression was confirmed by imaging in all 31 patients, and all patients had greater than 50% reduction in tumor volume at 6 months post-SRS. No patient had delayed tumor growth, new cranial neuropathy, visual function deterioration, adverse radiation effects, or hypopituitarism after SRS. Twenty-four patients had presented with cranial nerve disorders before SRS, and 6 (25%) of them had gradual improvement. Four (66.7%) of the 6 patients with orbital symptoms had symptomatic relief at the last follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

Stereotactic radiosurgery was effective in reducing the volume of CSH and attaining long-term tumor control in all patients at a median of 40 months. The authors' experience suggests that SRS is a reasonable primary and adjuvant treatment modality for patients in whom a CSH is diagnosed.

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Marshall J. Huang, Hideyuki Kano, Seyed H. Mousavi, Ajay Niranjan, Edward A. Monaco III, Yoshio Arai, John C. Flickinger, and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this retrospective cohort study was to assess long-term outcomes in patients with vestibular schwannoma (VS) who underwent stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) after initial microsurgical resection.

METHODS

From the authors' database of 1770 patients with VS, the authors retrospectively analyzed data from 173 Gamma Knife SRS procedures for VS after 1 (128 procedures) or multiple (45 procedures) microsurgical resections. The median length of the interval between the last resection and SRS was 42 months (range 2–329 months). The median length of clinical follow-up was 74 months (range 6–285 months). Progression-free survival after SRS was determined with Kaplan-Meier analysis.

RESULTS

At the time of SRS, the hearing of 161 patients (93%) was Gardner-Robertson Class V, and 81 patients (47%) had facial neuropathy (i.e., facial function with House-Brackmann [HB] grades of III–VI), 87 (50%) had trigeminal neuropathy, and 71 (41%) reported imbalance or disequilibrium disorders. The median tumor volume was 2.7 cm3 (range 0.2–21.6 cm3), and the median dose to the tumor margin was 13 Gy (range 11–20 Gy). Radiosurgery controlled growth of 163 (94%) tumors. Progression-free survival after SRS was 97% at 3 years, 95% at 5 years, and 90% at 10 years. Four patients with delayed tumor progression underwent repeat SRS at a median of 35 months (range 23–64 months) after the first SRS. Four patients (2.3%) with tumor progression underwent repeat resection at a median of 25 months (range 19–33 months). Among the patients with any facial dysfunction (indicated by HB grades of II–VI), 19% had improvement in this condition after SRS, and 5.5% with some facial function (indicated by HB grades of I–V) developed more facial weakness. Among patients with trigeminal neuropathy, 20% had improvement in this condition, and 5.8% developed or had worsened trigeminal neuropathy after SRS.

CONCLUSIONS

Stereotactic radiosurgery offered a safe and effective long-term management strategy for VS patients whose tumors remained or recurred after initial microsurgery.

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Ajay Niranjan, Sudesh S. Raju, Edward A. Monaco III, John C. Flickinger, and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

Unilateral Gamma Knife thalamotomy (GKT) is a well-established treatment for patients with medically refractory tremor who are not eligible for invasive procedures due to increased risk of compications. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether staged bilateral GKT provides benefit with acceptable risk to patients suffering from disabling medically refractory bilateral tremor.

METHODS

Eleven patients underwent staged bilateral GKT during a 17-year period (1999–2016). Eight patients had essential tremor (ET), 2 had Parkinson's disease (PD)–related tremor, and 1 had multiple-sclerosis (MS)–related tremor. For the first GKT, a median maximum dose of 140 Gy was delivered to the posterior-inferior region of the nucleus ventralis intermedius (VIM) through a single isocenter with 4-mm collimators. Patients who benefitted from unilateral GKT were eligible for a contralateral GKT 1–2 years later (median 22 months). For the second GKT, a median maximum dose of 130 Gy was delivered to the opposite VIM nucleus to a single 4-mm isocenter. The Fahn-Tolosa-Marin (FTM) clinical tremor rating scale was used to score tremor, drawing, and drinking before and after each GKT. The FTM writing score was assessed only for the dominant hand before and after the first GKT. The Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) was used to assess quality of life and activities of daily living before and after the first and second GKT.

RESULTS

The median time to last follow-up after the first GKT was 35 months (range 11–70 months). All patients had improvement in at least 1 FTM score after the first GKT. Three patients (27.3%) had tremor arrest and complete restoration of function (noted via FTM tremor, writing, drawing, and drinking scores equaling zero). No patient had tremor recurrence or diminished tremor relief after the first GKT. One patient experienced new temporary neurological deficit (contralateral lower-extremity hemiparesis) from the first GKT. The median time to last follow-up after the second GKT was 12 months (range 2–70 months). Nine patients had improvement in at least 1 FTM score after the second GKT. Two patients had tremor arrest and complete restoration of function. No patient experienced tremor recurrence or diminished tremor relief after the second GKT. No patient experienced new neurological or radiological adverse effect from the second GKT. Statistically significant improvements were noted in the KPS score following the first and second GKT.

CONCLUSIONS

Staged bilateral GKT provided effective relief for medically refractory, disabling, bilateral tremor without increased risk of neurological complications. It is an appropriate strategy for carefully selected patients with medically refractory bilateral tremor who are not eligible for deep brain stimulation.

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Michael Kerin Morgan, Marcus Andrew Stoodley, and John William Fuller

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Robert M. Starke, Hideyuki Kano, Dale Ding, John Y. K. Lee, David Mathieu, Jamie Whitesell, John T. Pierce, Paul P. Huang, Douglas Kondziolka, Chun-Po Yen, Caleb Feliciano, Rafael Rodgriguez-Mercado, Luis Almodovar, Daniel R. Pieper, Inga S. Grills, Danilo Silva, Mahmoud Abbassy, Symeon Missios, Gene H. Barnett, L. Dade Lunsford, and Jason P. Sheehan

OBJECTIVE

In this multicenter study, the authors reviewed the results following Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) of cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), determined predictors of outcome, and assessed predictive value of commonly used grading scales based upon this large cohort with long-term follow-up.

METHODS

Data from a cohort of 2236 patients undergoing GKRS for cerebral AVMs were compiled from the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation. Favorable outcome was defined as AVM obliteration and no posttreatment hemorrhage or permanent symptomatic radiation-induced complications. Patient and AVM characteristics were assessed to determine predictors of outcome, and commonly used grading scales were assessed.

RESULTS

The mean maximum AVM diameter was 2.3 cm, with a mean volume of 4.3 cm3. A mean margin dose of 20.5 Gy was delivered. Mean follow-up was 7 years (range 1–20 years). Overall obliteration was 64.7%. Post-GRKS hemorrhage occurred in 165 patients (annual risk 1.1%). Radiation-induced imaging changes occurred in 29.2%; 9.7% were symptomatic, and 2.7% had permanent deficits. Favorable outcome was achieved in 60.3% of patients. Patients with prior nidal embolization (OR 2.1, p < 0.001), prior AVM hemorrhage (OR 1.3, p = 0.007), eloquent location (OR 1.3, p = 0.029), higher volume (OR 1.01, p < 0.001), lower margin dose (OR 0.9, p < 0.001), and more isocenters (OR 1.1, p = 0.011) were more likely to have unfavorable outcomes in multivariate analysis. The Spetzler-Martin grade and radiosurgery-based AVM score predicted outcome, but the Virginia Radiosurgery AVM Scale provided the best assessment.

CONCLUSIONS

GKRS for cerebral AVMs achieves obliteration and avoids permanent complications in the majority of patients. Patient, AVM, and treatment parameters can be used to predict long-term outcomes following radiosurgery.