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Todd J. Wannemuehler, Kolin E. Rubel, Benjamin K. Hendricks, Jonathan Y. Ting, Troy D. Payner, Mitesh V. Shah and Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

OBJECTIVE

Craniopharyngiomas have historically been resected via transcranial microsurgery (TCM). In the last 2 decades, the extended endoscopic endonasal (transtuberculum) approach to these tumors has become more widely accepted, yet there remains controversy over which approach leads to better outcomes. The purpose of this study is to determine whether differences in outcomes were identified between TCM and extended endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEEAs) in adult patients undergoing primary resection of suprasellar craniopharyngiomas at a single institution.

METHODS

A retrospective review of all patients who underwent resection of their histopathologically confirmed craniopharyngiomas at the authors' institution between 2005 and 2015 was performed. Pediatric patients, revision cases, and patients with tumors greater than 2 standard deviations above the mean volume were excluded. The patients were divided into 2 groups: those undergoing primary TCM and those undergoing a primary EEEA. Preoperative patient demographics, presenting symptoms, and preoperative tumor volumes were determined. Extent of resection, tumor histological subtype, postoperative complications, and additional outcome data were obtained. Statistical significance between variables was determined utilizing Student t-tests, chi-square tests, and Fisher exact tests when applicable.

RESULTS

After exclusions, 21 patients satisfied the aforementioned inclusion criteria; 12 underwent TCM for resection while 9 benefitted from the EEEA. There were no significant differences in patient demographics, presenting symptoms, tumor subtype, or preoperative tumor volumes; no tumors had significant lateral or prechiasmatic extension. The extent of resection was similar between these 2 groups, as was the necessity for additional surgery or adjuvant therapy. CSF leakage was encountered only in the EEEA group (2 patients). Importantly, the rate of postoperative visual improvement was significantly higher in the EEEA group than in the TCM group (88.9% vs 25.0%; p = 0.0075). Postoperative visual deterioration only occurred in the TCM group (3 patients). Recurrence was uncommon, with similar rates between the groups. Other complication rates, overall complication risk, and additional outcome measures were similar between these groups as well.

CONCLUSIONS

Based on this study, most outcome variables appear to be similar between TCM and EEEA routes for similarly sized tumors in adults. The multidisciplinary EEEA to craniopharyngioma resection represents a safe and compelling alternative to TCM. The authors' data demonstrate that postoperative visual improvement is statistically more likely in the EEEA despite the increased risk of CSF leakage. These results add to the growing evidence that the EEEA may be considered the approach of choice for resection of select confined primary craniopharyngiomas without significant lateral extension in centers with experienced surgeons. Further prospective, multiinstitutional collaboration is needed to power studies capable of fully evaluating indications and appropriate approaches for craniopharyngiomas.

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Benjamin K. Hendricks and Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Epidermoid cysts or tumors comprise 1% of intracranial tumors with a predilection for the cerebellopontine angle or parasellar cisterns. These tumors are derived from an ectopic ectodermal implant seeded between fusing ectodermal surfaces. This results in a benign proliferation of stratified squamous epithelium along a cyst wall with a lumen composed of hyperkeratotic material derived from the desquamating cells. Surgical intervention is the treatment of choice for symptomatic patients. There is no role for radiotherapy or chemotherapy in the treatment of these lesions, including for residual or recurrent disease. The inherent adhesion of the proliferating epithelial lining to surrounding neurovascular structures significantly complicates attempts at gross-total resection. Epidermoid tumors or cysts are rarely reported within the third ventricular region. In this video, the authors demonstrate the technique of right-sided posterior interhemispheric transcallosal approach for maximal resection of a complex recurrent third ventricular epidermoid tumor with lateral ventricular extension.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/wbXp7mc0vT4.

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Benjamin K. Hendricks, Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol and James C. Miller

Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common primary brain tumor and carries a grave prognosis. Despite years of research investigating potentially new therapies for GBM, the median survival rate of individuals with this disease has remained fairly stagnant. Delivery of drugs to the tumor site is hampered by various barriers posed by the GBM pathological process and by the complex physiology of the blood-brain and blood–cerebrospinal fluid barriers. These anatomical and physiological barriers serve as a natural protection for the brain and preserve brain homeostasis, but they also have significantly limited the reach of intraparenchymal treatments in patients with GBM.

In this article, the authors review the functional capabilities of the physical and physiological barriers that impede chemotherapy for GBM, with a specific focus on the pathological alterations of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in this disease. They also provide an overview of current and future methods for circumventing these barriers in therapeutic interventions. Although ongoing research has yielded some potential options for future GBM therapies, delivery of chemotherapy medications across the BBB remains elusive and has limited the efficacy of these medications.

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Karishma Vijay Rupani and Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Clip ligation of posterior circulation aneurysms can be challenging because of limited operative working space and angles. Certain proximal posterior cerebral (P1) aneurysms are especially challenging because of their locations within the lateral anterior interpeduncular fossa.

We present a 52-year-old woman who had previously undergone coil embolization of a ruptured right-sided posterior communicating artery aneurysm. She also had two other small aneurysms (left posterior communicating artery and right P1 aneurysms). She underwent clip ligation of the latter two unruptured aneurysms through a left-sided pterional craniotomy. The microsurgical techniques to clip ligate a contralateral P1 aneurysm are discussed in the video.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/YBE7FcFGlpQ.

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Xiang Gao, Haiyan Wang, Shanbao Cai, M. Reza Saadatzadeh, Helmut Hanenberg, Karen E. Pollok, Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol and Jinhui Chen

Object

Peritumoral seizures are an early symptom of a glioma. To gain a better understanding of the molecular mechanism underlying tumor-induced epileptogenesis, the authors studied modulation of the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor in peritumoral tissue.

Methods

To study the possible etiology of peritumoral seizures, NMDA receptor expression, posttranslational modification, and function were analyzed in an orthotopic mouse model of human gliomas and primary patient glioma tissue in which the peritumoral border (tumor-brain interface) was preserved in a tissue block during surgery.

Results

The authors found that the NMDA receptor containing the 2B subunit (NR2B), a predominantly extrasynaptic receptor, is highly phosphorylated at S1013 in the neurons located in the periglioma area of the mouse brain. NR2B is also highly phosphorylated at S1013 in the neurons located in the peritumoral area from human brain tissue containing a glioma. The phosphorylation of the extrasynaptic NMDA receptor increases its permeability for Ca2+ influx and subsequently mediates neuronal overexcitation and seizure activity.

Conclusions

These data suggest that overexcitation of the extrasynaptic NMDA receptors in the peritumoral neurons may contribute to the development of peritumoral seizures and that the phosphorylated NR2B may be a therapeutic target for blocking primary brain tumor–induced peritumoral seizures.

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Andrew R. Conger, M.S., Joshua Lucas, Gabriel Zada, Theodore H. Schwartz and Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Endoscopic approaches to the midline ventral skull base have been extensively developed and refined for resection of cranial base tumors over the past several years. As these techniques have improved, both the degree of resection and complication rates have proven comparable to those for transcranial approaches, while visual outcomes may be better via endoscopic endonasal surgery and hospital stays and recovery times are often shorter. Yet for all of the progress made, the steep learning curve associated with these techniques has hampered more widespread implementation and adoption. The authors address this obstacle by coupling a thorough description of the technical nuances for endoscopic endonasal craniopharyngioma resection with detailed illustrations of the important steps in the operation. Traditionally, transsphendoidal approaches to craniopharyngiomas have been restricted to lesions mostly confined to the sella. However, recently, endoscopic endonasal resections are more frequently employed for extrasellar and purely third ventricle craniopharyngiomas, whose typical retrochiasmatic location makes them ideal candidates for endoscopic transnasal surgery.

The endonasal endoscopic approach offers many advantages, including direct access to the long axis of the tumor, early tumor debulking with minimal manipulation of the optic apparatus, more precise visualization of tumor planes, particularly along the undersurface of the chiasm and the roof of the third ventricle, and a minimal-access corridor that obviates the need for brain retraction. Although much emphasis has been placed on technical tenets of exposure and “how to get there,” this article focuses on nuances of tumor resection “when you are there.” Three operative videos illustrate our discussion of technical tenets.

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Chad A. Tuchek and Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Spinal dural arteriovenous fistula (dAVF) is an acquired abnormal arterial-to-venous connection within the spinal dura with a wide range of clinical presentations and natural history. Spinal dAVF occurs when a radicular artery makes a direct anomalous shunt with a radicular vein within the dura of the nerve root sleeve. Spinal dAVFs are the most common vascular malformation of the spine.

The authors present a patient who presented with sudden temporary lower extremity weakness secondary to an L-1 spinal dAVF. The details of microsurgical techniques to disconnect the fistula are discussed in this video.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/F9Kiffs3s6A.

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Mahdi Malekpour and Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Harvey Cushing played a pivotal role in establishing neurosurgery as a distinct surgical discipline. One of his most important contributions was defining the surgical removal of posterior fossa tumors. Compulsive preoperative evaluation followed by meticulous surgical technique as well as incorporation of maneuvers such as ventricular puncture and electrocautery further advanced resection of tumors in this region. Herein, the authors review Cushing's contributions to posterior fossa surgery.

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Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol, David W. Roberts and Costas G. Hadjipanayis

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Brandon C. Lane and Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Object

The authors report on the use of a recently developed microscope-integrated fluorescent module using low-dose intravenous fluorescein for videoangiography during arteriovenous malformation (AVM) surgery.

Methods

The authors analyzed the application of a low-dose intraoperative fluorescein in 4 consecutive patients undergoing AVM surgery. The ability to distinguish the associated vessels of the AVM from normal vessels and to assess the degree of AVM obliteration based on videoangiography of venous drainage was specifically analyzed.

Results

All 4 patients underwent fluorescein angiography without complication. In each case, videoangiography confirmed recognition of feeding arteries and draining veins through the operating oculars under the fluorescent mode. In one case involving a large frontal AVM, videoangiography demonstrated mainly cortical veins on the surface of the AVM and alerted the senior author to first tackle the feeding arteries in the interhemispheric space. While evaluating the flow within the different draining veins after most of the AVM was disconnected, videoangiography also prioritized the order for disconnection of large draining veins to allow mobilization the AVM and exposure of the remaining deep arterial feeders. In the other 3 cases, videoangiography allowed easy recognition of the angioarchitecture of the AVMs, estimated its cortical boundaries, and most importantly, assessed the flow within the draining veins before their disconnection.

Conclusions

The authors found fluorescein videoangiography to be a useful adjunct in resection of AVMs. This technology offers the unique ability to visualize fluorescent vessels and nonfluorescent tissues in near-natural colors simultaneously and permits microsurgical manipulation of relevant structures under the fluorescent mode. Largerscale studies are needed to establish its efficacy and wider applicability.