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Pamela C. Roehm, Derrick Tint, Norman Chan, Ryan Brewster, Vishad Sukul and Kadir Erkmen

OBJECTIVE

Temporal lobe encephaloceles and cerebrospinal fluid otorrhea from temporal bone defects that involve the tegmen tympani and mastoideum are generally repaired using middle fossa craniotomy, mastoidectomy, or combined approaches. Standard middle fossa craniotomy exposes patients to dural retraction, which can lead to postoperative neurological complications. Endoscopic and minimally invasive techniques have been used in other surgeries to minimize brain retraction, and so these methods were applied to repair the lateral skull base. The goal of this study was to determine if the use of endoscopic visualization through a middle fossa keyhole craniotomy could effectively repair tegmen defects.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of 6 cases of endoscope-assisted middle fossa repairs of tegmen dehiscences at a tertiary care medical center within an 18-month period.

RESULTS

All cases were successfully treated using a keyhole craniotomy with endoscopic visualization and minimal retraction. Surgical times did not increase. There were no major postoperative complications, recurrences of encephaloceles, or cerebrospinal fluid otorrhea in these patients.

CONCLUSIONS

Endoscopic visualization allows for smaller incisions and craniotomies and less risk of brain retraction injury without compromising repair integrity during temporal encephalocele and tegmen repairs.

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Leopold Arko, Eric Quach, Vishad Sukul, Anuj Desai, Kelly Gassie and Kadir Erkmen

We present surgical clipping of a giant middle cerebral artery aneurysm. The patient is a 64-year-old woman who suffered subarachnoid hemorrhage in 2005. She was treated with coiling of the aneurysm at an outside institution. She presented to our clinic with headaches and was found on angiography to have giant recurrence of the aneurysm. To allow adequate exposure for clipping, we performed the surgery through a cranio-orbito-zygomatic (COZ) skull base approach, which is demonstrated. The surgery was performed in an operating room/angiography hybrid suite allowing for high quality intraoperative angiography. The technique and room flow are also demonstrated.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/eePcyOMi85M.

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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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Atman Desai, Kimon Bekelis, Wenyan Zhao, Perry A. Ball and Kadir Erkmen

Object

Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability. Given that neurologists and neurosurgeons have special expertise in this area, the authors hypothesized that the density of neuroscience providers is associated with reduced mortality rates from stroke across US counties.

Methods

This is a retrospective review of the Area Resource File 2009–2010, a national county-level health information database maintained by the US Department of Health and Human Services. The primary outcome variable was the 3-year (2004–2006) average in cerebrovascular disease deaths per million population for each county. The primary independent variable was the combined density of neurosurgeons and neurologists per million population in the year 2006. Multiple regression analysis was performed, adjusting for density of general practitioners (GPs), urbanicity of the county, and socioeconomic status of the residents of the county.

Results

In the 3141 counties analyzed, the median number of annual stroke deaths was 586 (interquartile range [IQR] 449–754), the median number of neuroscience providers was 0 (IQR 0–26), and the median number of GPs was 274 (IQR 175–410) per million population. On multivariate adjusted analysis, each increase of 1 neuroscience provider was associated with 0.38 fewer deaths from stroke per year (p < 0.001) per million population. Rural location (p < 0.001) and increased density of GPs (p < 0.001) were associated with increases in stroke-related mortality.

Conclusions

Higher density of specialist neuroscience providers is associated with fewer deaths from stroke. This suggests that the availability of specialists is an important factor in survival after stroke, and underlines the importance of promoting specialist education and practice throughout the country.

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Kimon Bekelis, Atman Desai, Wenyan Zhao, Dan Gibson, Daniel Gologorsky, Clifford Eskey and Kadir Erkmen

Object

Computed tomography angiography (CTA) is increasingly used as a screening tool in the investigation of spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). However, CTA carries additional costs and risks, necessitating its judicious use. The authors hypothesized that subsets of patients with nontraumatic, nonsubarachnoid ICH are unlikely to benefit from CTA as part of the diagnostic workup and that particular patient risk factors may be used to increase the yield of CTA in the detection of vascular sources.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of 1376 patients admitted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center with ICH over an 8-year period. Patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage, hemorrhagic conversion of ischemic infarcts, trauma, and known prior malignancy were excluded from the analysis, resulting in 257 patients for final analysis. Records were reviewed for medical risk factors, hemorrhage location, and correlation of CTA findings with final diagnosis. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to investigate the combined effects of baseline variables of interest. Model selection was conducted using the stepwise method with p = 0.10 as the significance level for variable entry and p = 0.05 the significance level for variable retention.

Results

Computed tomography angiography studies detected vascular pathology in 34 patients (13.2%). Patient characteristics that were associated with a significantly higher likelihood of identifying a structural vascular lesion as the source of hemorrhage included patient age younger than 65 years (OR = 16.36, p = 0.0039), female sex (OR = 14.9, p = 0.0126), nonsmokers (OR = 103.8, p = 0.0008), patients with intraventricular hemorrhage (OR = 9.42, p = 0.0379), and patients without hypertension (OR = 515.78, p < 0.0001). Patients who were older than 65 years of age, with a history of hypertension, and hemorrhage located in the cerebellum or basal ganglia were never found to have an identified structural source of hemorrhage on CTA.

Conclusions

Patient characteristics and risk factors are important considerations when ordering diagnostic tests in the workup of nonsubarachnoid, nontraumatic spontaneous ICH. Although CTA is an accurate diagnostic examination, it can usually be omitted in the workup of patients with the described characteristics. The use of this algorithm has the potential to increase the yield, and thus the safety and cost effectiveness, of this diagnostic tool.

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Atman Desai, Kimon Bekelis and Kadir Erkmen

Effective surgical obliteration of spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) traditionally requires laminectomy or hemilaminectomy to allow intradural exposure and occlusion of the draining vein. The authors present successful treatment of a spinal DAVF by using a tubular retractor system to provide minimally invasive exposure at the L5–S1 level adequate for both microsurgical treatment and intraoperative indocyanine green angiography.

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Kimon Bekelis, Symeon Missios, Atman Desai, Clifford Eskey and Kadir Erkmen

Object

Microsurgical resection of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) is facilitated by real-time image guidance that demonstrates the precise size and location of the AVM nidus. Magnetic resonance images have routinely been used for intraoperative navigation, but there is no single MRI sequence that can provide all the details needed for characterization of the AVM. Additional information detailing the specific location of the feeding arteries and draining veins would be valuable during surgery, and this detail may be provided by fusing MR images and MR angiography (MRA) sequences. The current study describes the use of a technique that fuses contrast-enhanced MR images and 3D time-of-flight MR angiograms for intraoperative navigation in AVM resection.

Methods

All patients undergoing microsurgical resection of AVMs at the Dartmouth Cerebrovascular Surgery Program were evaluated from the surgical database. Between 2009 and 2011, 15 patients underwent surgery in which this contrast-enhanced MRI and MRA fusion technique was used, and these patient form the population of the present study.

Results

Image fusion was successful in all 15 cases. The additional data manipulation required to fuse the image sets was performed on the morning of surgery with minimal added setup time. The navigation system accurately identified feeding arteries and draining veins during resection in all cases. There was minimal imaging-related artifact produced by embolic materials in AVMs that had been preoperatively embolized. Complete AVM obliteration was demonstrated on intraoperative angiography in all cases.

Conclusions

Precise anatomical localization, as well as the ability to differentiate between arteries and veins during AVM microsurgery, is feasible with the aforementioned MRI/MRA fusion technique. The technique provides important information that is beneficial to preoperative planning, intraoperative navigation, and successful AVM resection.

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Daniel Ikeda and E. Antonio Chiocca

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Pablo A. Valdés, Frederic Leblond, Anthony Kim, Brent T. Harris, Brian C. Wilson, Xiaoyao Fan, Tor D. Tosteson, Alex Hartov, Songbai Ji, Kadir Erkmen, Nathan E. Simmons, Keith D. Paulsen and David W. Roberts

Object

Accurate discrimination between tumor and normal tissue is crucial for optimal tumor resection. Qualitative fluorescence of protoporphyrin IX (PpIX), synthesized endogenously following δ-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) administration, has been used for this purpose in high-grade glioma (HGG). The authors show that diagnostically significant but visually imperceptible concentrations of PpIX can be quantitatively measured in vivo and used to discriminate normal from neoplastic brain tissue across a range of tumor histologies.

Methods

The authors studied 14 patients with diagnoses of low-grade glioma (LGG), HGG, meningioma, and metastasis under an institutional review board–approved protocol for fluorescence-guided resection. The primary aim of the study was to compare the diagnostic capabilities of a highly sensitive, spectrally resolved quantitative fluorescence approach to conventional fluorescence imaging for detection of neoplastic tissue in vivo.

Results

A significant difference in the quantitative measurements of PpIX concentration occurred in all tumor groups compared with normal brain tissue. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis of PpIX concentration as a diagnostic variable for detection of neoplastic tissue yielded a classification efficiency of 87% (AUC = 0.95, specificity = 92%, sensitivity = 84%) compared with 66% (AUC = 0.73, specificity = 100%, sensitivity = 47%) for conventional fluorescence imaging (p < 0.0001). More than 81% (57 of 70) of the quantitative fluorescence measurements that were below the threshold of the surgeon's visual perception were classified correctly in an analysis of all tumors.

Conclusions

These findings are clinically profound because they demonstrate that ALA-induced PpIX is a targeting biomarker for a variety of intracranial tumors beyond HGGs. This study is the first to measure quantitative ALA-induced PpIX concentrations in vivo, and the results have broad implications for guidance during resection of intracranial tumors.