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Jacob F. Baranoski, Ankush Bajaj, Colin J. Przybylowski, Joshua S. Catapano, Fabio A. Frisoli, Michael J. Lang and Michael T. Lawton

Supracerebellar transtentorial (SCTT) approaches have become a popular option for treatment of a variety of pathologies in the medial and basal temporal and occipital lobes and thalamus. Transtentorial approaches provide numerous advantages over transcortical approaches, including obviating the need to traverse eloquent cortex, not requiring parenchymal retraction, and circumventing critical vascular structures. All of these approaches require a tentorial opening, and numerous techniques for retraction of the incised tentorium have been described, including sutures, fixed retractors, and electrocautery. However, all of these techniques have considerable drawbacks and limitations. The authors describe a novel application of clip retraction of the tentorium to the supracerebellar approaches in which an aneurysm clip is used to suspend the tentorial flap, and an illustrative case is provided. Clip retraction of the tentorium is an efficient, straightforward adaptation of an established technique, typically used for subtemporal approaches, that improves visualization and surgical ergonomics with little risk to nearby venous structures. The authors find this technique particularly useful for the contralateral SCTT approaches.

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Ethan A. Winkler, Alex Lu, Ramin A. Morshed, John K. Yue, W. Caleb Rutledge, Jan-Karl Burkhardt, Arati B. Patel, Simon G. Ammanuel, Steve Braunstein, Christine K. Fox, Heather J. Fullerton, Helen Kim, Daniel Cooke, Steven W. Hetts, Michael T. Lawton, Adib A. Abla and Nalin Gupta

OBJECTIVE

Brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) consist of dysplastic blood vessels with direct arteriovenous shunts that can hemorrhage spontaneously. In children, a higher lifetime hemorrhage risk must be balanced with treatment-related morbidity. The authors describe a collaborative, multimodal strategy resulting in effective and safe treatment of pediatric AVMs.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis of a prospectively maintained database was performed in children with treated and nontreated pediatric AVMs at the University of California, San Francisco, from 1998 to 2017. Inclusion criteria were age ≤ 18 years at time of diagnosis and an AVM confirmed by a catheter angiogram.

RESULTS

The authors evaluated 189 pediatric patients with AVMs over the study period, including 119 ruptured (63%) and 70 unruptured (37%) AVMs. The mean age at diagnosis was 11.6 ± 4.3 years. With respect to Spetzler-Martin (SM) grade, there were 38 (20.1%) grade I, 40 (21.2%) grade II, 62 (32.8%) grade III, 40 (21.2%) grade IV, and 9 (4.8%) grade V lesions. Six patients were managed conservatively, and 183 patients underwent treatment, including 120 resections, 82 stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), and 37 endovascular embolizations. Forty-four of 49 (89.8%) high-grade AVMs (SM grade IV or V) were treated. Multiple treatment modalities were used in 29.5% of low-grade and 27.3% of high-grade AVMs. Complete angiographic obliteration was obtained in 73.4% of low-grade lesions (SM grade I–III) and in 45.2% of high-grade lesions. A periprocedural stroke occurred in a single patient (0.5%), and there was 1 treatment-related death. The mean clinical follow-up for the cohort was 4.1 ± 4.6 years, and 96.6% and 84.3% of patients neurologically improved or remained unchanged in the ruptured and unruptured AVM groups following treatment, respectively. There were 16 bleeding events following initiation of AVM treatment (annual rate: 0.02 events per person-year).

CONCLUSIONS

Coordinated multidisciplinary evaluation and individualized planning can result in safe and effective treatment of children with AVMs. In particular, it is possible to treat the majority of high-grade AVMs with an acceptable safety profile. Judicious use of multimodality therapy should be limited to appropriately selected patients after thorough team-based discussions to avoid additive morbidity. Future multicenter studies are required to better design predictive models to aid with patient selection for multimodal pediatric care, especially with high-grade AVMs.

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Christopher S. Graffeo and Michael T. Lawton

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Mohamed A. Labib, Leandro Borba Moreira, Xiaochun Zhao, Sirin Gandhi, Claudio Cavallo, Ali Tayebi Meybodi, A. Samy Youssef, Andrew S. Little, Peter Nakaji, Mark C. Preul and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

The pretemporal transcavernous approach (PTA) and the endoscopic endonasal transcavernous approach (EETA) are both used to access the retroclival region. A direct quantitative comparison of both approaches has not been made. The authors compared the technical nuances of, and surgical exposure afforded by, each approach and identified the key elements of the approach selection process.

METHODS

Fourteen cadaveric specimens underwent either PTA (group A) or EETA with unilateral (group B) followed by bilateral (group C) interdural pituitary gland transposition. The percentage of drilled clivus; length of exposed oculomotor nerve (cranial nerve [CN] III), posterior cerebral artery (PCA), and superior cerebellar artery (SCA); and surgical area of exposure of both cerebral peduncles and the pons for the 3 groups were measured and compared.

RESULTS

Group A had a significantly lower percentage of drilled area than group B (mean [SD], 35.6% [11.2%] vs 91.3% [4.9%], p < 0.01). In group C, 100% of the upper third of the clivus was drilled in all specimens. Significantly longer segments of the ipsilateral PCA (p < 0.01) and SCA (p < 0.01) were exposed in group A than in group B. There was no significant difference in the length of the ipsilateral CN III exposed among the 3 groups. There was also no significant difference between group A and either group B or group C for the contralateral CN III or PCA exposure. However, longer segments of the contralateral SCA were exposed in group C than in group A (p = 0.02). Furthermore, longer segments of CN III (p < 0.01), PCA (p < 0.01), and SCA (p < 0.01) were exposed in group C than in group B. For brainstem exposure, there was greater exposure of the pons in group C than in group A (mean [SD], 211.4 [19.5] mm2 vs 157.7 [25.3] mm2, p < 0.01) and group B (211.4 [19.5] mm2 vs 153.9 [34.1] mm2, p < 0.01). However, significantly greater exposure of the ipsilateral peduncle was observed in group A (mean [SD], 125.6 [43.1] mm2) than in groups B and C (56.3 [6.0] mm2, p < 0.01). Group C had significantly greater exposure of the contralateral peduncle than group B (p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

This study is the first to quantitatively identify the advantages and limitations of the PTA and EETA from an anatomical perspective. Understanding these data may help the skull base surgeon design a maximally effective yet minimally invasive approach to individual lesions.

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Oliver Y. Tang, James S. Yoon, Anna R. Kimata and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Previous research has demonstrated the association between increased hospital volume and improved outcomes for a wide range of neurosurgical conditions, including adult neurotrauma. The authors aimed to determine if such a relationship was also present in the care of pediatric neurotrauma patients.

METHODS

The authors identified 106,146 pediatric admissions for traumatic intracranial hemorrhage (tICH) in the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) for the period 2002–2014 and 34,017 admissions in the National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB) for 2012–2015. Hospitals were stratified as high volume (top 20%) or low volume (bottom 80%) according to their pediatric tICH volume. Then the association between high-volume status and favorable discharge disposition, inpatient mortality, complications, and length of stay (LOS) was assessed. Multivariate regression modeling was used to control for patient demographics, severity metrics, hospital characteristics, and performance of neurosurgical procedures.

RESULTS

In each database, high-volume hospitals treated over 60% of pediatric tICH admissions. In the NIS, patients at high-volume hospitals presented with worse severity metrics and more frequently underwent neurosurgical intervention over medical management (all p < 0.001). After multivariate adjustment, admission to a high-volume hospital was associated with increased odds of a favorable discharge (home or short-term facility) in both databases (both p < 0.001). However, there were no significant differences in inpatient mortality (p = 0.208). Moreover, high-volume hospital patients had lower total complications in the NIS and lower respiratory complications in both databases (all p < 0.001). Although patients at high-volume hospitals in the NTDB had longer hospital stays (β-coefficient = 1.17, p < 0.001), they had shorter stays in the intensive care unit (β-coefficient = 0.96, p = 0.024). To determine if these findings were attributable to the trauma center level rather than case volume, an analysis was conducted with only level I pediatric trauma centers (PTCs) in the NTDB. Similarly, treatment at a high-volume level I PTC was associated with increased odds of a favorable discharge (OR 1.28, p = 0.009), lower odds of pneumonia (OR 0.60, p = 0.007), and a shorter total LOS (β-coefficient = 0.92, p = 0.024).

CONCLUSIONS

Pediatric tICH patients admitted to high-volume hospitals exhibited better outcomes, particularly in terms of discharge disposition and complications, in two independent national databases. This trend persisted when examining level I PTCs exclusively, suggesting that volume alone may have an impact on pediatric neurotrauma outcomes. These findings highlight the potential merits of centralizing neurosurgery and pursuing regionalization policies, such as interfacility transport networks and destination protocols, to optimize the care of children affected by traumatic brain injury.

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Sudhakar Vadivelu, Pablo Harker and Mario Zuccarello

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Qing Sun, Xiaochun Zhao, Sirin Gandhi, Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Evgenii Belykh, Daniel Valli, Claudio Cavallo, Leandro Borba Moreira, Peter Nakaji, Michael T. Lawton and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

The cisternal pulvinar is a challenging location for neurosurgery. Four approaches for reaching the pulvinar without cortical transgression are the ipsilateral supracerebellar infratentorial (iSCIT), contralateral supracerebellar infratentorial (cSCIT), ipsilateral occipital transtentorial (iOCTT), and contralateral occipital transtentorial/falcine (cOCTF) approaches. This study quantitatively compared these approaches in terms of surgical exposure and maneuverability.

METHODS

Each of the 4 approaches was performed in 4 cadaveric heads (8 specimens in total). A 6-sided anatomical polygonal region was configured over the cisternal pulvinar, defined by 6 reachable anatomical points in different vectors. Multiple polygons were subsequently formed to calculate the areas of exposure. The surgical freedom of each approach was calculated as the maximum allowable working area at the proximal end of a probe, with the distal end fixed at the posterior pole of the pulvinar. Areas of exposure, surgical freedom, and the working distance (surgical depth) of all approaches were compared.

RESULTS

No significant difference was found among the 4 different approaches with regard to the surgical depth, surgical freedom, or medial exposure area of the pulvinar. In the pairwise comparison, the cSCIT approach provided a significantly larger lateral exposure (39 ± 9.8 mm2) than iSCIT (19 ± 10.3 mm2, p < 0.01), iOCTT (19 ± 8.2 mm2, p < 0.01), and cOCTF (28 ± 7.3 mm2, p = 0.02) approaches. The total exposure area with a cSCIT approach (75 ± 23.1 mm2) was significantly larger than with iOCTT (43 ± 16.4 mm2, p < 0.01) and iSCIT (40 ± 20.2 mm2, p = 0.01) approaches (pairwise, p ≤ 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

The cSCIT approach is preferable among the 4 compared approaches, demonstrating better exposure to the cisternal pulvinar than ipsilateral approaches and a larger lateral exposure than the cOCTF approach. Both contralateral approaches described (cSCIT and cOCTF) provided enhanced lateral exposure to the pulvinar, while the cOCTF provided a larger exposure to the lateral portion of the pulvinar than the iOCTT. Medial exposure and maneuverability did not differ among the approaches. A short tentorium may negatively impact an ipsilateral approach because the cingulate isthmus and parahippocampal gyrus tend to protrude, in which case they can obstruct access to the cisternal pulvinar ipsilaterally.

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Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Michael T. Lawton, Leandro Borba Moreira, Xiaochun Zhao, Michael J. Lang, Peter Nakaji and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

Harvesting the occipital artery (OA) is challenging. The subcutaneous OA is usually found near the superior nuchal line and followed proximally, requiring a large incision and risking damage to the superficially located OA. The authors assessed the anatomical feasibility and safety of exposing the OA through a retromastoid-transmuscular approach.

METHODS

Using 10 cadaveric heads, 20 OAs were harvested though a 5-cm retroauricular incision placed 5 cm posterior to the external auditory meatus. The underlying muscle layers were sequentially cut and recorded before exposing the OA. Changes in the orientation of muscle fibers were used as a roadmap to expose the OA without damaging it.

RESULTS

The suboccipital segment of the OA was exposed without damage after incising two consecutive layers of muscles and their investing fasciae. These muscles displayed different fiber directions: the superficially located sternocleidomastoid muscle with vertically oriented fibers, and the underlying splenius capitis with anteroposteriorly (and mediolaterally) oriented fibers. The OA could be harvested along the entire length of the skin incision in all specimens. If needed, the incision can be extended proximally and/or distally to follow the OA and harvest greater lengths.

CONCLUSIONS

This transmuscular technique for identification of the OA is a reliable method and may facilitate exposure and protection of the OA during a retrosigmoid approach. This technique may obviate the need for larger incisions when planning a bypass to nearby arteries in the posterior circulation via a retrosigmoid craniotomy. Additionally, the small skin incision can be enlarged when a different craniotomy and/or bypass is planned or when a greater length of the OA is needed to be harvested.

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Sirin Gandhi, Tsinsue Chen, Justin R. Mascitelli, Claudio Cavallo, Mohamed A. Labib, Michael J. Lang and Michael T. Lawton

This video illustrates a contralateral supracerebellar transtentorial (cSCTT) approach for resection of a ruptured thalamic cavernous malformation in a 56-year-old woman with progressive right-sided homonymous hemianopsia. The patient was placed in the sitting position, and a torcular craniotomy was performed for the cSCTT approach. The lesion was resected completely. Postoperatively, the patient had intact motor strength and baseline visual field deficits with moderate right-sided paresthesias. The cSCTT approach maximizes the lateral surgical reach without the cortical transgression seen with alternative transcortical routes.1 Contralaterality is a defining feature, with entry of the neurosurgeon’s instruments from the craniotomy edge of the craniotomy, contralateral to the lesion, allowing access to the lateral aspect of the lesion. The sitting position facilitates gravity-assisted cerebellar retraction and enhances the superior reach of this approach (Used with permission from Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, Arizona).

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/lqB9mu_T8NQ.