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Theodore H. Schwartz, Orrin Devinsky, Werner Doyle, and Kenneth Perrine

Object. Although it is known that 5 to 10% of patients have language areas anterior to the rolandic cortex, many surgeons still perform standard anterior temporal lobectomies for epilepsy of mesial onset and report minimal long-term dysphasia. The authors examined the importance of language mapping before anterior temporal lobectomy.

Methods. The authors mapped naming, reading, and speech arrest in a series of 67 patients via stimulation of long-term implanted subdural grids before resective epilepsy surgery and correlated the presence of language areas in the anterior temporal lobe with preoperative demographic and neuropsychometric data.

Naming (p < 0.03) and reading (p < 0.05) errors were more common than speech arrest in patients undergoing surgery in the anterior temporal lobe. In the approximate region of a standard anterior temporal lobectomy, including 2.5 cm of the superior temporal gyrus and 4.5 cm of both the middle and inferior temporal gyrus, the authors identified language areas in 14.5% of patients tested. Between 1.5 and 3.5 cm from the temporal tip, patients who had seizure onset before 6 years of age had more naming (p < 0.02) and reading (p < 0.01) areas than those in whom seizure onset occurred after age 6 years. Patients with a verbal intelligence quotient (IQ) lower than 90 had more naming (p < 0.05) and reading (p < 0.02) areas than those with an IQ higher than 90. Finally, patients who were either left handed or right hemisphere memory dominant had more naming (p < 0.05) and reading (p < 0.02) areas than right-handed patients with bilateral or left hemisphere memory lateralization. Postoperative neuropsychometric testing showed a trend toward a greater decline in naming ability in patients who were least likely to have anterior language areas, that is, those with higher verbal IQ and later seizure onset.

Conclusions. Preoperative identification of markers of left hemisphere damage, such as early seizure onset, poor verbal IQ, left handedness, and right hemisphere memory dominance should alert neurosurgeons to the possibility of encountering essential language areas in the anterior temporal lobe (1.5–3.5 cm from the temporal tip). Naming and reading tasks are required to identify these areas. Whether removal of these areas necessarily induces long-term impairment in verbal abilities is unknown; however, in patients with a low verbal IQ and early seizure onset, these areas appear to be less critical for language processing.

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Theodore H. Schwartz, Brian Ho, Charles J. Prestigiacomo, Jeffrey N. Bruce, Neil A. Feldstein, and Robert R. Goodman

Object. Ventricular size often shows no obvious change following third ventriculostomy, particularly in the early postoperative period, making postoperative evaluation difficult without expensive and often invasive testing in patients with equivocal clinical responses. The authors hypothesized that performing careful volumetric measurements would show decreases in size within the first 3 weeks after surgery.

Methods. Volumetric measurements were calculated from standard 3 × 3—mm axial computerized tomography (CT) scans obtained immediately before and 3 and 21 days after surgery. Two independent investigators measured third ventricular volume in a series of 16 patients and lateral ventricular volume in 10 of the patients undergoing stereotactically guided endoscopic third ventriculostomy for noncommunicating hydrocephalus.

Fifteen patients were symptomatically improved at the time the follow-up scan was obtained. Third ventricular volume decreased in all patients by a mean of 35% (range 7.8–95.1%) and lateral ventricular volume decreased in all patients by a mean of 33% (range 4.5–80.3%). The degree of change correlated with the length of preoperative symptoms (p <0.005). The one patient who experienced no improvement showed no decrease in third ventricular volume. In seven of 10 patients, the decrease in third ventricular volume exceeded the decrease in lateral ventricular volume. Repeated measurements indicated that the 95% confidence interval for the authors' calculations varied around the mean by 2.5% for third ventricular volume and 1.2% for lateral ventricular volume. Long-term outcome was excellent, with only one case of delayed failure. The mean follow-up duration was 12 months.

Conclusions. Volumetric measurements calculated from standard CT scans will show a demonstrable decrease in ventricular volume soon after successful third ventriculostomy and can be helpful in assessing patients postoperatively. Although the third ventricle may exhibit a greater decrease, the lateral ventricular measurements are more accurate. Patients with more indolent symptoms show the smallest change.

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Theodore H. Schwartz and Dennis D. Spencer

Object. Prior reports of seizure control following reoperation for failed epilepsy surgery have shown good results. These studies included patients who presented during the era preceding magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, and the patients were often not monitored intracranially or underwent subtotal hippocampal resections. In this study, the authors hypothesized that reoperation for recurrent seizures following a more comprehensive initial workup and surgery would not yield such good results.

Methods. The authors examined a consecutive series of patients who underwent two operations at Yale—New Haven Hospital for medically intractable epilepsy and in whom there was a minimum of 1-year follow up after the second surgery. All patients were evaluated and treated according to a standard protocol, including preoperative MR imaging, a low threshold for invasive monitoring, and a radical amygdalohippocampectomy when indicated.

Twenty-seven patients were identified (five with mesial temporal sclerosis, 20 with neocortical disease, and two with multifocal sites of seizure onset) of whom six (22%) underwent intentionally palliative second surgery (corpus callostomy or placement of a vagus nerve stimulator [VNS]). Of the remaining 21 patients, only four (19%) became seizure free after a second resective operation. The most common causes of treatment failure were dual pathology, recurrent tumor, limited resection to preserve function, widespread developmental abnormalities, and electrographic sampling error. Successful outcomes resulted from removal of recurrent tumors, completion of a functional hemispherectomy, or repeated invasive monitoring to correct a sampling error. Five (83%) of the six intentionally palliative second operations resulted in more than a 50% decrease in seizure frequency.

Conclusions. If an aggressive preoperative evaluation and surgical resection are performed, reoperation for recurrent seizures has a much lower likelihood of cure than previously reported. Intentionally palliative surgery such as placement of a VNS unit may be considered for patients in whom the initial operation fails to decrease seizure frequency.

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Andrei I. Holodny, Theodore H. Schwartz, Martin Ollenschleger, Wen-Ching Liu, and Michael Schulder

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Ashesh D. Mehta, Douglas Labar, Andrew Dean, Cynthia Harden, Syed Hosain, Jayoung Pak, David Marks, and Theodore H. Schwartz

Object. Depth electrodes are useful in the identification of deep epileptogenic foci. Computerized tomography—magnetic resonance (CT/MR)— and angiography-guided frame-based techniques are safe and accurate but require four-point skull fixation that limits cranial access for the placement of additional grids and strips. The authors investigated the viability and accuracy of placing depth electrodes by using a commercially available frameless system.

Methods. A slotted, custom-designed adapter was built to interface with the StealthStation Guide Frame-DT and 960-525 StealthFighter. The Cranial Navigation software was used to plan the trajectory and entry site based on preoperative spoiled gradient MR imaging studies. Forty-one depth electrodes were placed in 51 targets in 20 patients. Thirty-one of these electrodes were inserted through the temporal neocortex following craniotomy and placement of subdural grids, whereas 10 were placed through burr holes. All electrodes had contact either within (71%) or touching (29%) the target, 50 of which (98%) provided adequate recordings. Although the mean distance of the distal electrode contact from the intended target was 3.1 ± 0.5 mm, the mean distance to the edge of the anatomical structure was 0.4 ± 0.9 mm. Placement via the laterotemporal approach was significantly (p < 0.001) more accurate than that via the occipitotemporal approach. No complication occurred.

Conclusions. Depth electrodes can be placed safely and accurately by using a commercially available frameless stereotactic navigation system and a custom-made adapter. Depth electrode placement to record ictal onsets during epilepsy surgery only requires the contacts to touch rather than to reside within the intended structure. The laterotemporal approach is a more accurate method of placing electrodes than is the occipitotemporal one, likely due to the increased distance from the entry point to the target.

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Ilya Laufer, Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz


The extended transsphenoidal approach is a less invasive method for removing purely suprasellar lesions compared with traditional transcranial approaches. Most advocates have used a sublabial incision and a microscope and have reported a significant risk of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage. The authors report on a series of purely endoscopic endonasal surgeries for resection of suprasellar supradiaphragmatic lesions above a normal-sized sella turcica with a low risk of CSF leakage.


A purely endoscopic endonasal approach was used to remove suprasellar lesions in a series of 10 patients. Five lesions were prechiasmal (three tuberculum sellae and two planum sphenoidale meningiomas) and five were post-chiasmal (four craniopharyngiomas and one Rathke cleft cyst). The floor of the planum sphenoidale and the sella turcica was reconstructed using a multilayer closure with autologous and synthetic materials. Spinal drainage was performed in only five cases. Complete resection of the lesions was achieved in all but one patient. The pituitary stalk was preserved in all but one patient, whose stalk was invaded by a craniopharyngioma and who had preoperative diabetes insipidus (DI). Vision improved postoperatively in all patients with preoperative impairment. Six patients had temporary DI; in five, the DI became permanent. Four patients with craniopharyngiomas required cortisone and thyroid replacement. After a mean follow up of 10 months, there was only one transient CSF leak when a lumbar drain was clamped prematurely on postoperative Day 5.


A purely endoscopic endonasal approach to suprasellar supradiaphragmatic lesions is a feasible minimally invasive alternative to craniotomy. With a multilayer closure, the risk of CSF leakage is low and lumbar drainage can be avoided. A larger series will be required to validate this approach.

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Justin F. Fraser, Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz

✓The authors present the case of a 71-year-old man who presented with neck pain, a history of gout, and a mass in the dens. Results of transoral endoscopic biopsy sampling demonstrated tophaceous gout. The patient was treated medically and the pain resolved. Tophaceous gout isolated in the dens is extremely rare and should be considered in the differential diagnosis of masses in this region. With the aid of transoral or transnasal endoscopic biopsy sampling, the diagnosis can be reached in a minimally invasive manner.

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Ilya Laufer, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Vijay K. Anand, Roger Härtl, and Theodore H. Schwartz

✓The authors report a case of a nonachnodroplastic dwarf with severe basilar invagination and compression of the cervicomedullary junction (CMJ) due to juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Initially excellent reduction of the invagination and decompression of the CMJ was achieved using posterior fixation. However, 1 month postoperatively symptoms recurred and the authors found imaging evidence of recurrence as well. The patient subsequently underwent an endoscopic transnasal resection of the dens with assistance of Iso-C navigation. He recovered well and tolerated regular diet on postoperative Day 2.

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Mark M. Souweidane, Caitlin E. Hoffman, and Theodore H. Schwartz


Intraventricular anatomy has been detailed as it pertains to endoscopic surgery within the third ventricle, particularly for performing endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) and endoscopic colloid cyst resection. The expanding role of endoscopic surgery warrants a careful appraisal of these techniques as they relate to frequent anatomical variants. Given the common occurrence of cavum septum pellucidum (CSP) and cavum vergae (CV), the endoscopic surgeon should be familiar with that particular anatomy especially as it pertains to surgery within the third ventricle.


From a prospective database of endoscopic surgical cases were selected those cases in which the defined pathology necessitated surgery within the third ventricle and there was coexistent CSP and CV. Pertinent radiographic studies, operative notes, and archived video files were reviewed to define the relevant anatomy. Features of the intracavitary anatomy were assessed regarding their importance in approaching the third ventricle.


Four cases involving endoscopic surgery within the third ventricle (2 colloid cyst resections and 2 ETVs) were identified in which the surgical objective was accomplished through a septal cavum. In each case the width of the body of the lateral ventricle was reduced and the foramen of Monro was obscured. Because of the ventricular distortion, a stereotactic transcavum route was used for approaching the third ventricle. Entry into the third ventricle was accomplished through an interforniceal fenestration immediately behind the anterior commissure. The surgical goal was met in each case without any neurological change or postoperative morbidity. During the follow-up period, there has been no recurrence of a colloid cyst and no need of a secondary cerebrospinal fluid diversionary procedure.


In the presence of a CSP and CV, endoscopic navigation into the third ventricle can be problematic via a transforaminal approach. Alternatively, a transcavum interforniceal route for endoscopic surgery in the third ventricle is suggested, with the rostral lamina and the anterior commissure as important anatomical landmarks. Endoscopic third ventriculostomy and endoscopic colloid cyst resection performed via a transcavum interforniceal route in patients with a coexistent septal cavum is a feasible and safe option.