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Matthias Schulz, Linda Liebe-Püschel, Karl Seelbach, Laura Paulikat, Felix Fehlhaber, Karin Schwarz, Christoph Blecher, and Ulrich-Wilhelm Thomale

OBJECTIVE

Surgical correction for sagittal and metopic craniosynostosis (SCS and MCS) aims to alter the abnormal cranial shape to resemble that of the normal population. The achieved correction can be assessed by morphometric parameters. The purpose of the presented study was to compare craniometric parameters of control groups to those same parameters after endoscopic and conventional (open) correction.

METHODS

The authors identified 4 groups of children undergoing surgical treatment for either SCS or MCS, with either endoscopic (SCS, n = 17; MCS, n = 16) or conventional (SCS, n = 29; MCS, n = 18) correction. In addition, normal control groups of nonaffected children who were 6 (n = 30) and 24 (n = 18) months old were evaluated. For all groups, several craniometric indices calculated from 3D photographs were compared for quantitative analysis. For qualitative comparison, averages of all 3D photographs were generated for all groups and superimposed to visualize relative changes.

RESULTS

For children with SCS, the cephalic index and coronal circumference index significantly differed preoperatively from those of the 6-month normal controls. The respective postoperative values were similar to those of the 24-month normal controls after both endoscopic and conventional correction. Similarly, for children with MCS, indices for circumference and diagonal dimension that were significantly different preoperatively became nonsignificantly different from those of 24-month normal controls after both endoscopic and conventional correction. The qualitative evaluation of superimposed average 3D head shapes confirmed changes toward normal controls after both treatment modalities for SCS and MCS. However, in SCS, the volume gain, especially in the biparietal area, was more noticeable after endoscopic correction, while in MCS, relative volume gain of the bilateral forehead was more pronounced after conventional correction. The average 3D head shapes matched more homogeneously with the average of normal controls after endoscopic correction for SCS and after conventional correction for MCS.

CONCLUSIONS

This quantitative analysis confirms that the performed surgical techniques of endoscopic and conventional correction of SCS and MCS alter the head shape toward those of normal controls. However, in a qualitative evaluation, the average head shape after endoscopic technique for SCS and conventional correction for MCS appears to be closer to that of normal controls than after the alternative technique. This study reports on morphometric outcomes after craniosynostosis correction. Only an assessment of the whole multiplicity of outcome parameters based on multicenter data acquisition will allow conclusions of superiority of one surgical technique.

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Philine Behrens, Anna Tietze, Elisabeth Walch, Petra Bittigau, Christoph Bührer, Matthias Schulz, Annette Aigner, and Ulrich-Wilhelm Thomale

OBJECTIVE

A standardized guideline for treatment of posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus in premature infants is still missing. Because an early ventriculoperitoneal shunt surgery is avoided due to low body weight and fragility of the patients, the neurosurgical treatment focuses on temporary solutions for CSF diversion as a minimally invasive approach. Neuroendoscopic lavage (NEL) was additionally introduced for early elimination of intraventricular blood components to reduce possible subsequent complications such as shunt dependency, infection, and multiloculated hydrocephalus. The authors report their first experience regarding neurodevelopmental outcome after NEL in this patient cohort.

METHODS

In a single-center retrospective cohort study with 45 patients undergoing NEL, the authors measured neurocognitive development at 2 years with the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, 2nd Edition, Mental Developmental Index (BSID II MDI) and graded the ability to walk with the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS). They further recorded medication with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) and quantified ventricular and brain volumes by using 3D MRI data sets.

RESULTS

Forty-four patients were alive at 2 years of age. Eight of 27 patients (30%) assessed revealed a fairly normal neurocognitive development (BSID II MDI ≥ 70), 28 of 36 patients (78%) were able to walk independently or with minimal aid (GMFCS 0–2), and 73% did not require AED treatment. Based on MR volume measurements, greater brain volume was positively correlated with BSID II MDI (rs = 0.52, 95% CI 0.08–0.79) and negatively with GMFCS (rs = −0.69, 95% CI −0.85 to −0.42). Based on Bayesian logistic regression, AED treatment, the presence of comorbidities, and also cerebellar pathology could be identified as relevant risk factors for both neurodevelopmental outcomes, increasing the odds more than 2-fold—but with limited precision in estimation.

CONCLUSIONS

Neuromotor outcome assessment after NEL is comparable to previously published drainage, irrigation, and fibrinolytic therapy (DRIFT) study results. A majority of NEL-treated patients showed independent mobility. Further validation of outcome measurements is warranted in an extended setup, as intended by the prospective international multicenter registry for treatment of posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus (TROPHY).

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Tizian Rosenstock, Thomas Picht, Heike Schneider, Peter Vajkoczy, and Ulrich-Wilhelm Thomale

OBJECTIVE

In adults, navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (nTMS) has been established as a preoperative examination method for brain tumors in motor- and language-eloquent locations. However, the clinical relevance of nTMS in children with brain tumors is still unclear. Here, the authors present their initial experience with nTMS-based surgical planning and family counseling in pediatric cases.

METHODS

The authors analyzed the feasibility of nTMS and its influence on counseling and surgical strategy in a prospective study conducted between July 2017 and September 2019. The main inclusion criterion was a potential benefit from functional mapping data derived from nTMS and/or nTMS-enhanced tractography in pediatric patients who presented to the authors’ department prior to surgery for lesions close to motor- and/or speech-eloquent areas. The study was undertaken in 14 patients (median age 7 years, 8 males) who presented with different brain lesions.

RESULTS

Motor mapping combined with cortical seed area definition could be performed in 10 children (71%) to identify the corticospinal tract by additional diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). All motor mappings could be performed successfully without inducing relevant side effects. In 7 children, nTMS language mapping was performed to detect language-relevant cortical areas and DTI fiber tractography was performed to visualize the individual language network. nTMS examination was not possible in 4 children because of lack of compliance (n = 2), syncope (n = 1), and preexisting implant (n = 1). After successful mapping, the spatial relation between lesion and functional tissue was used for surgical planning in all 10 patients, and 9 children underwent nTMS-DTI integrated neuronavigation. No surgical complications or unexpected neurological deterioration was observed. In all successful nTMS cases, better function-based counseling was offered to the families. In 6 of 10 patients the surgical strategy was adapted according to nTMS data, and in 6 of 10 cases the extent of resection (EOR) was redefined.

CONCLUSIONS

nTMS and DTI fiber tracking were feasible for the majority of children. Presurgical counseling as well as surgical planning for the approach and EOR were improved by the nTMS examination results. nTMS in combination with DTI fiber tracking can be regarded as beneficial for neurosurgical procedures in eloquent areas in the pediatric population.

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Jonathan Roth, Or Bercovich, Ashton Roach, Francesco T. Mangano, Arvind C. Mohan, Guillermo Aldave, Howard L. Weiner, Ulrich-Wilhelm Thomale, Andreas Schaumann, Shimrit Uliel-Sibony, and Shlomi Constantini

OBJECTIVE

Resection of brain tumors may lead to new-onset seizures but may also reduce seizure rates in patients presenting with seizures. Seizures are seen at presentation in about 24% of patients with brain tumors. For lesional epilepsy in general, early resection is associated with improved seizure control. However, the literature is limited regarding the occurrence of new-onset postoperative seizures, or rates of seizure control in those presenting with seizures, following resections of extratemporal low-grade gliomas (LGGs) in children.

METHODS

Data were collected retrospectively from 4 large tertiary centers for children (< 18 years of age) who underwent resection of a supratentorial extratemporal (STET) LGG. The patients were divided into 4 groups based on preoperative seizure history: no seizures, up to 2 seizures, more than 2 seizures, and uncontrolled or refractory epilepsy. The authors analyzed the postoperative occurrence of seizures and the need for antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) over time for the various subgroups.

RESULTS

The study included 98 children. Thirty patients had no preoperative seizures, 18 had up to 2, 16 had more than 2, and 34 had refractory or uncontrolled epilepsy. The risk for future seizures was higher if the patient had seizures within 1 month of surgery. The risk for new-onset seizures among patients with no seizures prior to surgery was low. The rate of seizures decreased over time for children with uncontrolled or refractory seizures. The need for AEDs was higher in the more active preoperative seizure groups; however, it decreased with time.

CONCLUSIONS

The resection of STET LGGs in children is associated with a low rate of postoperative new-onset epilepsy. For children with preoperative seizures, even with uncontrolled epilepsy, most have a significant improvement in the seizure activity, and many may be weaned off their AEDs.

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Ulrich-Wilhelm Thomale and Matthias Schulz

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Ben Shofty, Liat Ben-Sira, Anat Kesler, George Jallo, Mari L. Groves, Rajiv R. Iyer, Alvaro Lassaletta, Uri Tabori, Eric Bouffet, Ulrich-Wilhelm Thomale, Pablo Hernáiz Driever, Shlomi Constantini, and for the Isolated Optic Nerve Abnormalities (IONA) Collaboration

OBJECTIVE

Isolated optic nerve gliomas (IONGs) constitute a rare subgroup of optic pathway gliomas (OPGs). Due to the rarity of this condition and the difficulty in differentiating IONGs from other types of OPGs in most clinical series, little is known about these tumors. Currently, due to lack of evidence, they are managed the same as any other OPG.

METHODS

The authors conducted a multicenter retrospective cohort study aimed at determining the natural history of IONGs. Included were patients with clear-cut glioma of the optic nerve without posterior (chiasmatic/hypothalamic) involvement. At least 1 year of follow-up, 2 MRI studies, and 2 neuro-ophthalmological examinations were required for inclusion.

RESULTS

Thirty-six patients with 39 tumors were included in this study. Age at diagnosis ranged between 6 months and 16 years (average 6 years). The mean follow-up time was 5.6 years. Twenty-five patients had neurofibromatosis Type 1. During the follow-up period, 59% of the tumors progressed, 23% remained stable, and 18% (all with neurofibromatosis Type 1) displayed some degree of spontaneous regression. Fifty-one percent of the patients presented with visual decline, of whom 90% experienced further deterioration. Nine patients were treated with chemotherapy, 5 of whom improved visually. Ten patients underwent operation, and no local or distal recurrence was noted.

CONCLUSIONS

Isolated optic nerve gliomas are highly dynamic tumors. Radiological progression and visual deterioration occur in greater percentages than in the general population of patients with OPGs. Response to chemotherapy may be better in this group, and its use should be considered early in the course of the disease.

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Anna-Felicitas Gebert, Matthias Schulz, Karin Schwarz, and Ulrich-Wilhelm Thomale

OBJECTIVE

The use of adjustable differential pressure valves with gravity-assisted units in shunt therapy of children with hydrocephalus was reported to be feasible and promising as a way to avoid chronic overdrainage. In this single-center study, the authors' experiences in infants, who have higher rates of shunt complications, are presented.

METHODS

All data were collected from a cohort of infants (93 patients [37 girls and 56 boys], less than 1 year of age [mean age 4.1 ± 3.1 months]) who received their first adjustable pressure hydrocephalus shunt as either a primary or secondary implant between May 2007 and April 2012. Rates of valve and shunt failure were recorded for a total of 85 months until the end of the observation period in May 2014.

RESULTS

During a follow-up of 54.2 ± 15.9 months (range 26–85 months), the Kaplan-Meier rate of shunt survival was 69.2% at 1 year and 34.1% at 85 months; the Kaplan-Meier rate of valve survival was 77.8% at 1 year and 56% at 85 months. Survival rates of the shunt were significantly inferior if the patients had previous shunt surgery. During follow-up, 44 valves were exchanged in cases of infection (n = 19), occlusion (n = 14), dysfunction of the adjustment unit (n = 10), or to change the gravitational unit (n = 1).

CONCLUSIONS

Although a higher shunt complication rate is observed in infant populations compared with older children, reasonable survival rates demonstrate the feasibility of using this sophisticated valve technology. The gravitational unit of this valve is well tolerated and its adjustability offers the flexible application of opening pressure in an unpredictable cohort of patients. This may adequately address overdrainage-related complications from early in treatment.

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Matthias Schulz, Christoph Bührer, Anja Pohl-Schickinger, Hannes Haberl, and Ulrich-Wilhelm Thomale

Object

Neonatal intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) may evolve into posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus and cause neurodevelopmental impairment. In this study, an endoscopic surgical approach directed toward the removal of intraventricular hematoma was evaluated for its safety and efficacy.

Methods

Between August 2010 and December 2012 (29 months), 19 neonates with posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus underwent neuroendoscopic lavage for removal of intraventricular blood remnants. During a similar length of time (29 months) from March 2008 to July 2010, 10 neonates were treated conventionally, initially using temporary CSF diversion via lumbar punctures, a ventricular access device, or an external ventricular drain. Complications and shunt dependency rates were evaluated retrospectively.

Results

The patient groups did not differ regarding gestational age and birth weight. In the endoscopy group, no relevant procedure-related complications were observed. After the endoscopic lavage, 11 (58%) of 19 patients required a later shunt insertion, as compared with 100% of infants treated conventionally (p < 0.05). Endoscopic lavage was associated with fewer numbers of overall necessary procedures (median 2 vs 3.5 per patient, respectively; p = 0.08), significantly fewer infections (2 vs 5 patients, respectively; p < 0.05), or supratentorial multiloculated hydrocephalus (0 vs 4 patients, respectively; p < 0.01).

Conclusions

Within the presented setup the authors could demonstrate the feasibility and safety of neuroendoscopic lavage for the treatment of posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus in neonates with IVH. The nominally improved results warrant further verification in a multicenter, prospective study.

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Vivek A. Mehta, Chetan Bettegowda, Sebastian A. Ahmadi, Petra Berenberg, Ulrich-Wilhelm Thomale, Ernst-Johannes Haberl, George I. Jallo, and Edward S. Ahn

Object

Symptom response to spinal cord untethering, and the impact of duraplasty and scoliosis on retethering, are poorly understood in tethering after myelomeningocele (MMC) repair. In this retrospective study, the authors examined the outcomes of children who developed first-time spinal cord tethering following MMC repair. The response of symptoms to untethering and the role of duraplasty and scoliosis in retethering are explored.

Methods

The authors performed a review of 54 children with first-time symptomatic spinal cord tethering following MMC repair to determine the impact of untethering on symptoms, the impact of dural repair type on retethering, and the role of scoliosis on the prevalence and time to retethering.

Results

The average patient age was 10.3 ± 4.9 years, and 44% were males. The most common presenting symptoms of tethered cord syndrome were urinary (87%), motor (80%), gait (78%), and sensory (61%) dysfunction. The average postoperative time to symptom improvement was 2.02 months for sensory symptoms, 3.21 months for pain, 3.50 months for urinary symptoms, and 4.48 months for motor symptoms, with sensory improvement occurring significantly earlier than motor improvement (p = 0.02). At last follow-up (an average of 47 months), motor symptoms were improved in 26%, maintained in 62%, and worsened in 11%; for sensory symptoms, these rates were 26%, 71%, and 3%, respectively; for pain, 28%, 65%, and 7%, respectively; and for urinary symptoms, 17%, 76%, and 7%, respectively. There was no difference in symptom response with type of dural repair (primary closure vs duraplasty). Symptomatic retethering occurred in 17 (31%) of 54 patients, but duration of symptoms, age at surgery, and type of dural repair were not associated with retethering. Scoliosis was not associated with an increased prevalence of retethering, but was associated with significantly earlier retethering (32.5 vs 61.1 months; p = 0.042) in patients who underwent additional untethering operations.

Conclusions

Symptomatic retethering is a common event after MMC repair. In the authors' experience, sensory improvements occur sooner than motor improvements following initial untethering. Symptom response rates were not altered by type of dural closure. Scoliosis was associated with significantly earlier retethering and should be kept in mind when caring for individuals who have had previous MMC repair.

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I-Mei Siu, Betty M. Tyler, James X. Chen, Charles G. Eberhart, Ulrich-Wilhelm Thomale, Alessandro Olivi, George I. Jallo, Gregory J. Riggins, and Gary L. Gallia

Object

Diffuse brainstem tumors are the most difficult type of pediatric CNS malignancy to treat. These inoperable lesions are treated with radiation alone or in combination with chemotherapy, and the survival rate is less than 10%. It is therefore essential to develop a reliable animal model to screen new therapeutic agents for the treatment of this type of tumor.

Methods

A multipotent human glioblastoma stemlike neurosphere line, 060919, was established from a surgically resected glioblastoma specimen; when cells were implanted intracranially into athymic nude mice, they formed invasive, vascular tumors that exhibited the features of glioblastoma. Ten female Fischer 344 rats received an injection of 75,000 F98 rat glioma cells and 10 female athymic nude rats received an injection of 75,000 060919 human glioblastoma stemlike cells in the pontine tegmentum of the brainstem. A control group of 5 female Fischer rats received an injection of saline in the same location as the animals in the tumor groups. Kaplan-Meier curves were generated for survival, and brains were processed postmortem for histopathological investigation.

Results

Both F98 cells and 060919 cells grew in 100% of the animals injected. Median survival of animals injected with F98 was 15 days, consistent with the authors' previous reports on the establishment of the brainstem tumor model using the F98 rat glioma line. Median survival of animals injected with 060919 was 31 days. Histopathological analysis of the tumors confirmed the presence of brainstem lesions in animals that received brainstem injections of F98 and in animals that received brainstem injections of 060919. The 060919 brainstem tumors histologically resembled glioblastoma.

Conclusions

Tumor take and median survival were consistent for animals injected in the brainstem with either the established F98 rat glioma cell line or the 060919 human glioblastoma stemlike neurosphere line. Histopathological features of the 060919 brainstem tumors resembled glioblastoma. Establishment of this human glioblastoma stemlike brainstem animal model will improve the evaluation and identification of more efficacious agents for the treatment of high-grade brainstem tumors.