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Marco Cenzato, Davide Colistra, Giorgia Iacopino, Christian Raftopoulos, Ulrich Sure, Marcos Tatagiba, Robert F. Spetzler, Alexander N. Konovalov, Andriy Smolanka, Volodymir Smolanka, Roberto Stefini, Carlo Bortolotti, Paolo Ferroli, Giampietro Pinna, Angelo Franzini, Philipp Dammann, Georgios Naros, Davide Boeris, Paolo Mantovani, Domenico Lizio, Mariangela Piano, and Enrica Fava

OBJECTIVE

In this paper, the authors aimed to illustrate how Holmes tremor (HT) can occur as a delayed complication after brainstem cavernoma resection despite strict adherence to the safe entry zones (SEZs).

METHODS

After operating on 2 patients with brainstem cavernoma at the Great Metropolitan Hospital Niguarda in Milan and noticing a similar pathological pattern postoperatively, the authors asked 10 different neurosurgery centers around the world to identify similar cases, and a total of 20 were gathered from among 1274 cases of brainstem cavernomas. They evaluated the tremor, cavernoma location, surgical approach, and SEZ for every case. For the 2 cases at their center, they also performed electromyographic and accelerometric recordings of the tremor and evaluated the post-operative tractographic representation of the neuronal pathways involved in the tremorigenesis. After gathering data on all 1274 brainstem cavernomas, they performed a statistical analysis to determine if the location of the cavernoma is a potential predicting factor for the onset of HT.

RESULTS

From the analysis of all 20 cases with HT, it emerged that this highly debilitating tremor can occur as a delayed complication in patients whose postoperative clinical course has been excellent and in whom surgical access has strictly adhered to the SEZs. Three of the patients were subsequently effectively treated with deep brain stimulation (DBS), which resulted in complete or almost complete tremor regression. From the statistical analysis of all 1274 brainstem cavernomas, it was determined that a cavernoma location in the midbrain was significantly associated with the onset of HT (p < 0.0005).

CONCLUSIONS

Despite strict adherence to SEZs, the use of intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring, and the immediate success of a resective surgery, HT, a severe neurological disorder, can occur as a delayed complication after resection of brainstem cavernomas. A cavernoma location in the midbrain is a significant predictive factor for the onset of HT. Further anatomical and neurophysiological studies will be necessary to find clues to prevent this complication.

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Jan-Karl Burkhardt, Ethan A. Winkler, Joshua S. Catapano, Robert F. Spetzler, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Studies of resection of brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) in the elderly population are scarce. This study examined factors influencing patient selection and surgical outcome among elderly patients.

METHODS

Patients 65 years of age and older who underwent resection of an unruptured or ruptured brain AVM treated by two surgeons at two centers were identified. Patient demographic characteristics, AVM characteristics, clinical presentation, and outcomes measured using the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) were analyzed. For subgroup analyses, patients were dichotomized into two age groups (group 1, 65–69 years old; group 2, ≥ 70 years old).

RESULTS

Overall, 112 patients were included in this study (group 1, n = 61; group 2, n = 51). Most of the patients presented with hemorrhage (71%), a small nidus (< 3 cm, 79%), and a low Spetzler-Martin (SM) grade (grade I or II, 63%) and were favorable surgical candidates according to the supplemented SM grade (supplemented SM grade < 7, 79%). A smaller AVM nidus was statistically significantly more likely to be present in patients with infratentorial AVMs (p = 0.006) and with a compact AVM nidus structure (p = 0.02). A larger AVM nidus was more likely to be treated with preoperative embolization (p < 0.001). Overall outcome was favorable (mRS scores 0–3) in 71% of the patients and was statistically independent from age group or AVM grading. Patients with ruptured AVMs at presentation had significantly better preoperative mRS scores (p < 0.001) and more favorable mRS scores at the last follow-up (p = 0.04) than patients with unruptured AVMs.

CONCLUSIONS

Outcomes were favorable after AVM resection in both groups of patients. Elderly patients with brain AVMs treated microsurgically were notable for small nidus size, AVM rupture, and low SM grades. Microsurgical resection is an important treatment modality for elderly patients with AVMs, and supplemented SM grading is a useful tool for the selection of patients who are most likely to achieve good neurological outcomes after resection.

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Tyler S. Cole and Robert F. Spetzler

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Nícollas Nunes Rabelo, Manoel Jacobsen Teixeira, Robert F. Spetzler, and Eberval Gadelha Figueiredo

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Nícollas Nunes Rabelo, Manoel Jacobsen Teixeira, Robert F. Spetzler, and Eberval Gadelha Figueiredo

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Tim E. Darsaut and Jean Raymond

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M. Yashar S. Kalani, Robert F. Spetzler, Rudolf Fahlbusch, and James K. Liu

Open access

M. Yashar S. Kalani, Kaan Yağmurlu, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, and Robert F. Spetzler

The lateral supracerebellar infratentorial (SCIT) approach provides advantageous access to lesions located in the lateral mesencephalon and mesencephalopontine junction. For lesions that abut the pial surface, a direct approach is ideal and well tolerated. For deep-seated lesions, the lateral mesencephalic sulcus (LMS) can be used to access lesions with minimal morbidity to the patient. This video demonstrates the use of the SCIT approach via the LMS to remove a cavernous malformation at the level of the mesencephalopontine junction. The use of somatosensory and motor evoked potential monitoring and intraoperative neuronavigation is essential for optimizing patient outcomes. Meticulous, multilayered closure is critical for optimal results in the posterior fossa. For optimal patient outcomes, approach selection for deep-seated lesions should combine the two-point method with safe entry zones. At follow-up, the patient had persistent sensory changes but was otherwise neurologically intact.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/bHFEZhG8dHw.

Open access

M. Yashar S. Kalani, Kaan Yağmurlu, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, and Robert F. Spetzler

Dorsal pons lesions at the facial colliculus level can be accessed with a suboccipital telovelar (SOTV) approach using the superior fovea safe entry zone. Opening the telovelar junction allows visualization of the dorsal pons and lateral entry at the level of the fourth ventricle floor. Typically, a lateral entry into the floor of the fourth ventricle is better tolerated than a midline opening. This video demonstrates the use of the SOTV approach to remove a cavernous malformation at the level of the facial colliculus. This case is particularly interesting because of a large venous anomaly and several telangiectasias in the pons. Dissections in the video are reproduced with permission from the Rhoton Collection (http://rhoton.ineurodb.org).

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/LqzCfN2J3lY.

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Daniel Dutra Cavalcanti, Bárbara Albuquerque Morais, Eberval Gadelha Figueiredo, Robert F. Spetzler, and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

The brainstem is a compact, delicate structure. The surgeon must have good anatomical knowledge of the safe entry points to safely resect intrinsic lesions. Lesions located at the lateral midbrain surface are better approached through the lateral mesencephalic sulcus (LMS). The goal of this study was to compare the surgical exposure to the LMS provided by the subtemporal (ST) approach and the paramedian and extreme-lateral variants of the supracerebellar infratentorial (SCIT) approach.

METHODS

These 3 approaches were used in 10 cadaveric heads. The authors performed measurements of predetermined points by using a neuronavigation system. Areas of microsurgical exposure and angles of the approaches were determined. Statistical analysis was performed to identify significant differences in the respective exposures.

RESULTS

The surgical exposure was similar for the different approaches—369.8 ± 70.1 mm2 for the ST; 341.2 ± 71.2 mm2 for the SCIT paramedian variant; and 312.0 ± 79.3 mm2 for the SCIT extreme-lateral variant (p = 0.13). However, the vertical angular exposure was 16.3° ± 3.6° for the ST, 19.4° ± 3.4° for the SCIT paramedian variant, and 25.1° ± 3.3° for the SCIT extreme-lateral variant craniotomy (p < 0.001). The horizontal angular exposure was 45.2° ± 6.3° for the ST, 35.6° ± 2.9° for the SCIT paramedian variant, and 45.5° ± 6.6° for the SCIT extreme-lateral variant opening, presenting no difference between the ST and extreme-lateral variant (p = 0.92), but both were superior to the paramedian variant (p < 0.001). Data are expressed as the mean ± SD.

CONCLUSIONS

The extreme-lateral SCIT approach had the smaller area of surgical exposure; however, these differences were not statistically significant. The extreme-lateral SCIT approach presented a wider vertical and horizontal angle to the LMS compared to the other craniotomies. Also, it provides a 90° trajectory to the sulcus that facilitates the intraoperative microsurgical technique.