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Urvashi Upadhyay, Rami O. Almefty, Ian F. Dunn and Ossama Al-Mefty

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Wenya Linda Bi, Patrick A. Brown, Mohammad Abolfotoh, Ossama Al-Mefty, Srinivasan Mukundan Jr., and Ian F. Dunn

OBJECT

The anatomical complexity of skull base tumors mandates detailed preoperative planning for safe resection. In particular, the location of critical vascular and bony structures can influence the surgical approach. Traditional methods, such as MRI, MR angiography and/or venography (MRA/MRV), CT angiography and/or venography (CTA/CTV), and digital subtraction angiography, each have their limitations. One alternative that combines the benefits of both detailed anatomy compatible with intraoperative image guidance and visualization of the vascular flow is the 320–detector row dynamic volume CTA/CTV. The authors investigated this technique’s impact on the surgical approach used in a series of complex intracranial tumors.

METHODS

All patients with complex intracranial tumors who had undergone preoperative dynamic CTA/CTV as well as MRI in the period from July 2010 to June 2012 were retrospectively reviewed. Those in whom only routine CTA/CTV sequences had been obtained were excluded. Clinical records, including imaging studies, operative reports, and hospital course, were reviewed. Ease in detecting specific major arterial and venous tributaries using dynamic CTA/CTV was graded for each case. Furthermore, 2 skull base neurosurgeons projected a desired surgical approach for each tumor based on MRI studies, independent of the CTA/CTV sequences. The projected approach was then compared with the ultimately chosen surgical approach to determine whether preoperative awareness of vasculature patterns altered the actual operative approach.

RESULTS

Sixty-four patients were eligible for analysis. Dynamic CTA/CTV successfully demonstrated circle of Willis arteries, major draining sinuses, and deep internal venous drainage in all cases examined. The superior petrosal sinus, vein of Labbé, tentorial veins, and middle fossa veins were also identified in a majority of cases, which played an important role in preoperative planning. Visualization of critical vascular—especially venous—anatomy influenced the surgical approach in 39% (25 of 64) of the cases.

CONCLUSIONS

Dynamic CTA/CTV has been applied to few neurosurgical disease pathologies to date. This noninvasive technology offers insight into vascular flow patterns as well as 3D anatomical relationships and provides thin-cut sequences for intraoperative navigation. The authors propose dynamic CTA as an addition to the preoperative planning for complex skull base tumors.

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Emad Aboud, Mohammad Abolfotoh, Svetlana Pravdenkova, Abdulkerim Gokoglu, Murat Gokden and Ossama Al-Mefty

OBJECT

Epidermoid tumors arise from misplaced squamous epithelium and enlarge through the accumulation of desquamated cell debris. Optimal treatment consists of total removal of the capsule; therefore, giant and multicompartmental tumors are particularly challenging. A conservative attitude in handling the tumor capsule is common given concerns about capsule adherence to neurovascular structures, and thus the possibility of recurrence is accepted with the intent of minimizing complications. This study focuses on the outcome of surgery in patients with giant epidermoid tumors for which total capsule removal was the aim.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective analysis of all patients with giant epidermoid tumors treated by the senior author (O.A.), who pursued total removal of the capsule through skull base approaches. Patients were divided into 2 groups: one including patients with de novo tumors and the other consisting of patients who presented with recurrent tumors.

RESULTS

Thirty-four patients had undergone 46 operations, and the senior author performed 38 of these operations in the study period. The average tumor dimensions were 55 × 36 mm, and 25 tumors had multicompartmental extensions. Total removal of the tumor and capsule was achieved with the aid of the microscope in 73% of the 26 de novo cases but in only 17% of the 12 recurrent tumor cases. The average follow-up among all patients was 111 months (range 10–480 months), and the average postsurgical follow-up was 56.8 months (range 6–137 months). There were 4 recurrences in the de novo group, and every case had had a small piece of tumor capsule left behind. One patient died after delayed rupture of a pseudoaneurysm. In the de novo group, the average preoperative Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) score was 71.42%, which improved to 87.14% on long-term follow-up. In the group with recurrences, the KPS score also improved on long-term follow-up, from 64.54% to 84.54%. In the de novo group, 3 cases (11.5%) had permanent cranial nerve deficits, and 4 cases (15.4%) had a CSF leak. In the recurrence group, 3 cases (25%) had new, permanent cranial nerve deficits, and 1 (8.3%) had a CSF leak. Two patients in this group developed hydrocephalus and required a shunt.

CONCLUSIONS

Total removal of the capsule of giant epidermoid tumors was achieved in 73% of patients with de novo tumors and was associated with improved function, low morbidity and mortality, and a lower risk of recurrence. Surgery in patients with recurrent tumors was associated with higher morbidity and persistence of the disease.

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Ian F. Dunn, Wenya Linda Bi, Kadir Erkmen, Paulo A. S. Kadri, David Hasan, Chi-Tun Tang, Svetlana Pravdenkova and Ossama Al-Mefty

Object

Medial acoustic neuroma is a rare entity that confers a distinct clinical syndrome. It is scarcely discussed in the literature and is associated with adverse features. This study evaluates the clinical and imaging features, pertinent surgical challenges, and treatment outcome in a large series of this variant. The authors postulate that the particular pathological anatomy with its arachnoidal rearrangement has a profound implication on the surgical technique and outcome.

Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective analysis of 52 cases involving 33 women and 19 men who underwent resection of medial acoustic neuromas performed by the senior author (O.A.) over a 20-year period (1993–2013). Clinical, radiological, and operative records were reviewed, with a specific focus on the neurological outcomes and facial nerve function and hearing preservation. Intraoperative findings were analyzed with respect to the effect of arachnoidal arrangement on the surgeon's ability to resect the lesion and the impact on postoperative function.

Results

The average tumor size was 34.5 mm (maximum diameter), with over 90% of tumors being 25 mm or larger and 71% being cystic. Cerebellar, trigeminal nerve, and facial nerve dysfunction were common preoperative findings. Hydrocephalus was present in 11 patients. Distinguishing intraoperative findings included marked tumor adherence to the brainstem and frequent hypervascularity, which prompted intracapsular dissection resulting in enhancement on postoperative MRI in 18 cases, with only 3 demonstrating growth on follow-up. There was no mortality or major postoperative neurological deficit. Cerebrospinal fluid leak was encountered in 7 patients, with 4 requiring surgical repair. Among 45 patients who had intact preoperative facial function, only 1 had permanent facial nerve paralysis on extended follow-up. Of the patients with preoperative Grade I–II facial function, 87% continued to have Grade I–II function on follow-up. Of 10 patients who had Class A hearing preoperatively, 5 continued to have Class A or B hearing after surgery.

Conclusions

Medial acoustic neuromas represent a rare subgroup whose site of origin and growth patterns produce a distinct clinical presentation and present specific operative challenges. They reach giant size and are frequently cystic and hypervascular. Their origin and growth pattern lead to arachnoidal rearrangement with marked adherence against the brainstem, which is critical in the surgical management. Excellent surgical outcome is achievable with a high rate of facial nerve function and attainable hearing preservation. These results suggest that similar or better results may be achieved in less complex tumors.

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Rami Almefty, Ian F. Dunn, Svetlana Pravdenkova, Mohammad Abolfotoh and Ossama Al-Mefty

Object

The relentless natural progression of petroclival meningiomas mandates their treatment. The management of these tumors, however, is challenging. Among the issues debated are goals of treatment, outcomes, and quality of life, appropriate extent of surgical removal, the role of skull base approaches, and the efficacy of combined decompressive surgery and radiosurgery. The authors report on the outcome in a series of patients treated with the goal of total removal.

Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective analysis of 64 cases of petroclival meningiomas operated on by the senior author (O.A.) from 1988 to 2012, strictly defined as those originating medial to the fifth cranial nerve on the upper two-thirds of the clivus. The patients' average age was 49 years; the average tumor size (maximum diameter) was 35.48 ± 10.09 mm (with 59 tumors > 20 mm), and cavernous sinus extension was present in 39 patients. The mean duration of follow-up was 71.57 months (range 4–276 months).

Results

In 42 patients, the operative reports allowed the grading of resection. Grade I resection (tumor, dura, and bone) was achieved in 17 patients (40.4%); there was no recurrence in this group (p = 0.0045). Grade II (tumor, dura) was achieved in 15 patients (36%). There was a statistically significant difference in the rate of recurrence with respect to resection grade (Grades I and II vs other grades, p = 0.0052). In all patients, tumor removal was classified based on postoperative contrast-enhanced MRI, and gross-total resection (GTR) was considered to be achieved if there was no enhancement present; on this basis, GTR was achieved in 41 (64%) of 64 patients, with a significantly lower recurrence rate in these patients than in the group with residual enhancement (p = 0.00348). One patient died from pulmonary embolism after discharge.

The mean Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) score was 85.31 preoperatively (median 90) and improved on follow-up to 88, with 30 patients (47%) having an improved KPS score on follow-up. Three patients suffered a permanent deficit that significantly affected their KPS. Cerebrospinal fluid leak occurred in 8 patients (12.5%), with 2 of them requiring exploration. Eighty-nine percent of the patients had cranial nerve deficits on presentation; of the 54 patients with more than 2 months of follow-up, 21 (32.8%) had persisting cranial nerve deficits. The overall odds of permanent cranial nerve deficit of treated petroclival meningioma was 6.2%. There was no difference with respect to immediate postoperative cranial nerve deficit in patients who had GTR compared with those who had subtotal resection.

Conclusions

Total removal (Grade I or II resection) of petroclival meningiomas is achievable in 76.4% of cases and is facilitated by the use of skull base approaches, with good outcome and functional status. In cases in which circumstances prevent total removal, residual tumors can be followed until progression is evident, at which point further intervention can be planned.

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Bradley A. Gross, Daryoush Tavanaiepour, Rose Du, Ossama Al-Mefty and Ian F. Dunn

In this article, the authors review the history of the posterior petrosal approach. The early foundation of the retrolabyrinthine lateral petrosectomy has its roots in the otolaryngology literature. These early approaches were limited in exposure by the tentorium superiorly and the sigmoid sinus posteriorly. Although the concept of a transtentorial approach was originally combined with a complete labyrinthectomy, Hakuba and colleagues described the expansive exposure afforded by sectioning the tentorium and superior petrosal sinus and mobilizing a skeletonized sigmoid sinus. This maneuver serves as the key step in allowing for the full, combined supra- and infratentorial exposure that the posterior petrosal approach provides. In contrast to Hakuba et al.'s approach, which used a partial labyrinthectomy, modern approaches often preserve the entire labyrinth (retrolabyrinthine approach). For added exposure, the latter can be combined with the anterior petrosal approach, allowing for the preservation of hearing and an enhanced view of the surgical target. The authors review the evolution of the petrosal approach and highlight its applicability.

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Bradley A. Gross, Ian F. Dunn, Rose Du and Ossama Al-Mefty

Object

Although they provide excellent ventral and lateral exposure of the brainstem, petrosal approaches to brainstem cavernous malformations (CMs) are infrequently reported.

Methods

The authors reviewed their experience with petrosal approaches to brainstem CMs in combination with a comprehensive review of the literature to elucidate resection rates, complication rates, and outcomes.

Results

Including their own results, the authors found 65 cases in 20 reports of brainstem CMs treated with petrosal approaches. The specific approaches were posterior petrosal in 37 cases (57%), anterior petrosal in 17 (26%), extended posterior petrosal in 10 (15%), and a combined petrosal approach in 1 case (2%). For 50 cases in 16 reports with detailed outcome information, the overall complete resection rate was 90%, with early postoperative morbidity reported in 30% of cases and permanent morbidity in 14%. The rate of CSF leakage was 6%.

Conclusions

The versatile petrosal approaches to brainstem CMs are associated with good outcomes and an acceptable morbidity rate. More expansive lesions can be approached using a combination of the standard anterior and posterior petrosal approach, preserving hearing and avoiding the greater complication rates associated with extended posterior petrosal approaches.

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Bradley A. Gross, Daryoush Tavanaiepour, Rose Du, Ossama Al-Mefty and Ian F. Dunn

Complex posterior circulation aneurysms are formidable lesions with an abysmal natural history. Their management continues to present a challenge to both endovascular and open microsurgical approaches. Affording an expansive, combined supra- and infratentorial exposure, the petrosal approaches are well suited for these challenging lesions when located along the basilar trunk or at a low-lying basilar apex. This report evaluates the evolution and application of petrosal approaches to these lesions. Excluding transsigmoid, infratentorial, or labyrinth-sacrificing approaches, the authors found 23 reports with 61 posterior circulation aneurysms treated via a petrosal approach. Although early morbidity was not negligible, rates of aneurysm occlusion (95% overall) and long-term outcome were quite laudable in light of the challenge posed by these lesions. Moreover, with accumulating experience with petrosal approaches, rates of complications are likely to wane, as neurosurgeons capitalize on the expansive exposure afforded by these indispensable approaches.

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Ahmed Nageeb M. Taha, Kadir Erkmen, Ian F. Dunn, Svetlana Pravdenkova and Ossama Al-Mefty

Object

Juxtasellar meningiomas frequently extend into the optic canal. Removing these meningiomas from the optic canal is crucial for favorable visual outcome.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of 45 patients with anterior and middle fossa meningiomas with involvement of the optic pathway in whom surgery was performed by the senior author (O.A.M.) during the period from 1993 to 2007. Extent of resection and recurrence rates were determined by pre- and postoperative MR imaging studies. Visual outcomes were evaluated with full ophthalmological examinations performed before and after surgery.

Results

Forty-five patients (31 women and 14 men) were involved in this study; their mean age was 51.6 years. Patients were followed for a mean of 29.8 months (range 6–108 months). No surgery-related death occurred. The average tumor size was 3.1 cm. Total resection of the tumor (Simpson Grade I) was achieved in 32 patients (71.1%). Gross-total resection (Simpson Grades II and III) was achieved in 13 patients (28.9%). Only 1 patient harboring a left cavernous sinus meningioma had tumor recurrence and underwent repeat resection. Meningiomas extended into 58 optic canals in these cases; 13 patients showed extension into both optic canals. Visual disturbance was the main presenting symptom in 37 patients (82.2%); 8 patients had normal vision initially. Visual improvement after surgery was seen in 21 (57%) of 37 patients and in 27 (34.6%) of 78 affected eyes. Vision remained unchanged in 48 (61.5%) of 78 eyes. Transient postoperative visual deterioration occurred in 2 eyes (2.6%), with recovery to baseline over time. Only 1 (1.3%) of 78 eyes had permanent visual deterioration after surgery. The visual outcome was affected mainly by the tumor size, the preoperative visual status, and the duration of symptoms.

Conclusions

Involvement of the optic canal in meningiomas is frequent. It occurs in a wide variety of anterior skull base meningiomas and it can be bilateral. It is a prominent factor that affects the preoperative visual status and postoperative recovery. Decompression of the optic canal and removal of the tumor inside is a crucial step in the surgical management of these tumors to optimize visual recovery and prevent tumor recurrence.

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Ahmad Hafez, Remi Nader and Ossama Al-Mefty

Object

The petrosal approach is based on sectioning the superior petrosal sinus (SPS) and the tentorium. However, the venous anatomy in certain situations forbids this maneuver. The authors have derived a technique that enables the SPS to be spared during the performance of the petrosal approach. They describe the anatomical basis of this technique and report on 2 cases in which the technique was applied.

Methods

Five alcohol-preserved cadaveric heads injected with colored silicone were used for bilateral dissection and demonstration of the technique. The described method was thoroughly investigated in these cadavers to assess its advantages, variabilities, and limitations. Subsequently, the technique was applied during the resection of petroclival tumors in 2 patients.

Results

The authors were able to demonstrate that the approach provides good access to the petroclival area through both the middle and posterior fossa in cadavers. By deriving a new technique of applying the combined petrosal approach without cutting the SPS, the senior author (O.A.M.) managed to achieve total resection of a dumbbell-shaped trigeminal schwannoma in a 19-year-old woman and of a petroclival meningioma in a 49-year-old man.

Conclusions

This modification of the petrosal approach involving sparing of the SPS or cutting of the tentorium is an effective means for cases in which the venous anatomy mandates preservation of these structures.