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Open access

Michel W. Bojanowski, Gunness V. R. Nitish, Gilles El Hage, Kim Lalonde, Chiraz Chaalala and Thomas Robert

Cavernous malformations in the midbrain can be accessed via several safe entry zones. The accepted rule of thumb is to enter at the point where the lesion is visible at the surface of the brainstem to pass through as little normal brain tissue as possible. However, in some cases, in order to avoid critical neural structures, this rule may not apply. A different safe entry zone can be chosen. Our video presents a case of a ruptured cavernous malformation in the midbrain reaching its anterior surface which was successfully resected via a posterolateral route using the supracerebellar infratentorial approach.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/7kt-OQuBmz0.

Open access

Michel W. Bojanowski, Moujahed Labidi, Nathalie L’Ecuyer and Chiraz Chaalala

Thalamomesencephalic cavernous malformations are located high in the brainstem and may be difficult to reach. We present a case of such a lesion which was successfully approached via the supracerebellar transtentorial route. Our enclosed video provides elements to justify this posterior approach and illustrates the steps required for the cavernoma’s safe removal, which include opening of the tentorium and gentle retraction of the exposed temporal lobe.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/Ex5OfLyBzPY.

Free access

Pierre-Olivier Champagne, Emile Lemoine and Michel W. Bojanowski

OBJECTIVE

Sphenoid wing meningiomas are a heterogeneous group of tumors with variable surgical risks and prognosis. Those that have grown to a very large size, encasing the major cerebral arteries, are associated with a high risk of stroke. In reviewing the authors’ series of giant sphenoid wing meningiomas, the goal was to evaluate how the extent of the tumor’s invasion of surrounding structures affected the ability to safely remove the tumor and restore function.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective study of a series of giant sphenoid wing meningiomas operated on between 1996 and 2016. Inclusion criteria were meningiomas with a globoid component ≥ 6 cm, encasing at least 1 major intradural cerebral artery. Extent of resection was measured according to Simpson grade.

RESULTS

This series included 12 patients, with a mean age of 59 years. Visual symptoms were the most common clinical presentation. There was complete or partial encasement of all 3 major cerebral arteries except for 3 cases in which only the anterior cerebral artery was not involved. The lateral wall of the cavernous sinus was invaded in 8 cases (67%) and the optic canal in 6 (50%). Complete resection was achieved in 2 cases (Simpson grades 2 and 3). In the remaining 10 cases of partial resection (Simpson grade 4), radical removal (> 90%) was achieved in 7 cases (70%). In the immediate postoperative period, there were no deaths. Four of 9 patients with visual deficits improved, while the 5 others remained unchanged. Two patients experienced transient neurological deficits. Other than an asymptomatic lacuna of the internal capsule, there were no ischemic lesions following surgery. Tumor recurrence occurred in 5 patients, between 24 and 168 months (mean 61 months) following surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

Although these giant lesions encasing major cerebral arteries are particularly treacherous for surgery, this series demonstrates that it is possible to safely achieve radical removal and at times even gross-total resection. However, the risk of recurrence remains high and larger studies are needed to see if and how improvement can be achieved, whether in surgical technique or technological advances, and by determining the timing and modality of adjuvant radiation therapy.

Restricted access

Elsa Magro, Jean-Christophe Gentric, André Lima Batista, Marc Kotowski, Chiraz Chaalala, David Roberge, Alain Weill, Christian Stapf, Daniel Roy, Michel W. Bojanowski, Tim E. Darsaut, Ruby Klink and Jean Raymond

OBJECTIVE

The management of brain arteriovenous malformations (bAVMs) remains controversial. The Treatment of Brain AVMs Study (TOBAS) was designed to manage patients with bAVMs within a clinical research framework. The objective of this study was to study trial feasibility, recruitment rates, patient allocation to the various management groups, and compliance with treatment allocation.

METHODS

TOBAS combines two randomized care trials (RCTs) and a registry. Designed to be all-inclusive, the study offers randomized allocation of interventional versus conservative management to patients eligible for both options (first RCT), a second RCT testing the role of preembolization as an adjunct to surgery or radiotherapy, and a registry of patients managed using clinical judgment alone. The primary outcome of the first RCT is death from any cause or disabling stroke (modified Rankin Scale score > 2) at 10 years. A pilot phase was initiated at one center to test study feasibility, record the number and characteristics of patients enrolled in the RCTs, and estimate the frequency of crossovers.

RESULTS

All patients discussed at the multidisciplinary bAVM committee between June 2014 and June 2016 (n = 107) were recruited into the study; 46 in the randomized trials (23 in the first RCT with 21 unruptured bAVMs, 40 in the second RCT with 17 unruptured bAVMs, and 17 in both RCTs), and 61 patients in the registry. Three patients crossed over from surgery to observation (first RCT).

CONCLUSIONS

Clinical research was successfully integrated with normal practice using TOBAS. Recruitment rates in a single center are encouraging. Whether the trial will provide meaningful results depends on the recruitment of a sufficient number of participating centers.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT02098252 (clinicaltrials.gov)

Free access

Elsa Magro, Jean-Christophe Gentric, Tim E. Darsaut, Daniela Ziegler, MSI, Michel W. Bojanowski and Jean Raymond

OBJECTIVE

The ARUBA study (A Randomized Trial of Unruptured Brain Arteriovenous Malformations [AVMs]) on unruptured brain AVMs has been the object of comments and editorials. In the present study the authors aim to systematically review critiques, discuss design issues, and propose a framework for future trials.

METHODS

The authors performed a systematic review of the French and English literature on the ARUBA study published between January 2006 and February 2015. The electronic search, including the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE (PubMed and Ovid), CINAHL, and EMBASE databases, was complemented by hand searching and cross-referencing. The comments were categorized as items related to the design, the conduct, and the analysis and interpretation of the trial.

RESULTS

Thirty-one articles or letters were identified. The pragmatic design, with heterogeneity of patients and lack of standardization of the treatment arm, were frequently stated concerns. The choice of outcome measures was repeatedly criticized. During the trial, low enrollment rates, selection bias, and premature interruption of enrollment were frequent comments. The short follow-up period, the lack of subgroup analyses, the lack of details on the results of the various treatments, and a contentious interpretation of results were noted at the analysis stage. A fundamental problem was the primary hypothesis testing conservative management. The authors believe that other trials are needed. Future trials could be pragmatic, test interventions stratified at the time of randomization, and look for long-term, hard clinical outcomes in a large number of patients.

CONCLUSIONS

In the authors' view, the ARUBA trial is a turning point in the history of brain AVM management; future trials should aim at integrating trial methodology and clinical care in the presence of uncertainty.

Full access

Tim E. Darsaut, Igor Salazkin, Jean-Christophe Gentric, Elsa Magro, Guylaine Gevry, Michel W. Bojanowski and Jean Raymond

OBJECTIVE

Surgical management of recurrent aneurysms following failed flow diversion may pose difficulties in securing vascular control with temporary clips. The authors tested the efficacy and impact of different types of aneurysm clips on flow-diverted arteries.

METHODS

Six wide-necked experimental aneurysms were created in canines and treated with Pipeline flow diverters. In 4 aneurysms, occlusion of the artery at the level of the proximal and distal landing zones (n = 2 per aneurysm) was attempted, using temporary, fenestrated, single, and double permanent aneurysm clips. Two aneurysms served as unclipped controls. Serial angiography was performed to investigate the efficacy of clip occlusion, flow diverter deformation, and thrombus formation. After the animals were killed, the flow-diverted aneurysm constructs were opened and photographed to determine neointimal or device damage as a result of clip placement.

RESULTS

Angiography-confirmed clip occlusion was only possible for 4 of 8 of the tested flow-diverted arterial segments. Clip application attempts led to filling defects consistent with thrombus formation in 2 of 4 flow-diverted constructs, and to minor damage of the flow diverter with neointimal fracture in 1 of 4 cases.

CONCLUSIONS

Aneurysm clips placed on canine parent arteries bearing a Pipeline flow diverter were unable to reliably stop blood flow. Application of aneurysm clips can cause mild damage to the device and neointima, which might translate into thromboembolic risks. If possible, vascular control should be sought beyond the terminal ends of the implanted device.

Free access

Thomas Robert, Alexander G. Weil, Sami Obaid, Hosam Al-Jehani and Michel W. Bojanowski

Large tumors located on the upper surface of the tentorium, extending to the posterior edge of the tentorial incisura and affecting the posterior temporo-mesial region, are challenging to reach without damaging the surrounding brain. Typically, these lesions are approached through a subtemporal or a transcortical transtemporal corridor. To avoid temporal lobe transgression or retraction, and venous drainage compromise, we use a supracerebellar transtentorial (SCTT) approach which gives a direct exposure to the posterior temporo-medial region and the posterior incisural space. In this video, we demonstrate the surgical technique of the SCTT approach.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/g3ilMO8vo4g.

Free access

Alexander G. Weil, Thomas Robert, Sultan Alsaiari, Sami Obaid and Michel W. Bojanowski

Retrochiasmatic craniopharyngiomas involving the anterior third ventricle are challenging to access. Although the pterional approach is a common route for suprasellar lesions, when the craniopharyngioma extends behind the chiasma into the third ventricle, access is even more difficult, and the lamina terminalis may offer a good working window. The translamina terminalis approach provides direct access to the retrochiasmatic portion of the tumor with minimal brain retraction and no manipulation of the visual nerves. In this video, we emphasize the utility of using the lamina terminalis corridor to resect the retrochiasmatic intraventricular portion of a craniopharyngioma.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/hrLNC0hDKe4.

Full access

Moujahed Labidi, Pascale Lavoie, Geneviève Lapointe, Sami Obaid, Alexander G. Weil, Michel W. Bojanowski and André Turmel

OBJECT

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) has become the first line of treatment in obstructive hydrocephalus. The Toronto group (Kulkarni et al.) developed the ETV Success Score (ETVSS) to predict the clinical response following ETV based on age, previous shunt, and cause of hydrocephalus in a pediatric population. However, the use of the ETVSS has not been validated for a population comprising adults. The objective of this study was to validate the ETVSS in a “closed-skull” population, including patients 2 years of age and older.

METHODS

In this retrospective observational study, medical charts of all consecutive cases of ETV performed in two university hospitals were reviewed. The primary outcome, the success of ETV, was defined as the absence of reoperation or death attributable to hydrocephalus at 6 months. The ETVSS was calculated for all patients. Discriminative properties along with calibration of the ETVSS were established for the study population. The secondary outcome is the reoperation-free survival.

RESULTS

This study included 168 primary ETVs. The mean age was 40 years (range 3–85 years). ETV was successful at 6 months in 126 patients (75%) compared with a mean ETVSS of 82.4%. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was 0.61, revealing insufficient discrimination from the ETVSS in this population. In contrast, calibration of the ETVSS was excellent (calibration slope = 1.01), although the expected low numbers were obtained for scores < 70. Decision curve analyses demonstrate that ETVSS is marginally beneficial in clinical decision-making, a reduction of 4 and 2 avoidable ETVs per 100 cases if the threshold used on the ETVSS is set at 70 and 60, respectively. However, the use of the ETVSS showed inferior net benefit when compared with the strategy of not recommending ETV at all as a surgical option for thresholds set at 80 and 90.

In this cohort, neither age nor previous shunt were significantly associated with unsuccessful ETV. However, better outcomes were achieved in patients with aqueductal stenosis, tectal compressions, and other tumor-associated hydrocephalus than in cases secondary to myelomeningocele, infection, or hemorrhage (p = 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS

The ETVSS did not show adequate discrimination but demonstrated excellent calibration in this population of patients 2 years and older. According to decision-curve analyses, the ETVSS is marginally useful in clinical scenarios in which 60% or 70% success rates are the thresholds for preferring ETV to CSF shunt. Previous history of CSF shunt and age were not associated with worse outcomes, whereas posthemorrhagic and postinfectious causes of the hydrocephalus were significantly associated with reduced success rates following ETV.