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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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Xiaochun Zhao, Evgenii Belykh, Colin J. Przybylowski, Leandro Borba Moreira, Sirin Gandhi, Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Claudio Cavallo, Daniel Valli, Robert T. Wicks and Peter Nakaji

OBJECTIVE

Meningiomas at the falcotentorial junction represent a rare subgroup of complex meningiomas. Debate remains regarding the appropriate treatment strategy for and optimal surgical approach to these tumors, and surgical outcomes have not been well described in the literature. The authors reviewed their single-institution experience in the management, approach selection, and outcomes for patients with falcotentorial meningiomas.

METHODS

From the medical records, the authors identified all patients with falcotentorial meningiomas treated with resection at the Barrow Neurological Institute between January 2007 and October 2017. Perioperative clinical, surgical, and radiographic data were retrospectively collected. For patients who underwent the supracerebellar infratentorial approach, the tentorial angle was defined as the angle between the line joining the nasion with the tuberculum sellae and the tentorium in the midsagittal plane.

RESULTS

Falcotentorial meningiomas occurred in 0.97% (14/1441) of the patients with meningiomas. Most of the patients (13/14) were female, and the mean patient age was 59.8 ± 11.3 years. Of 17 total surgeries (20 procedures), 11 were single-stage primary surgeries, 3 were two-stage primary surgeries (6 procedures), 2 were reoperations for recurrence, and 1 was a reoperation after surgery had been aborted because of brain edema. Hydrocephalus was present in 5 of 17 cases, 4 of which required additional treatment. Various approaches were used, including the supracerebellar infratentorial (4/17), occipital transtentorial/transfalcine (4/17), anterior interhemispheric transsplenial (3/17), parietal transventricular (1/17), torcular (2/17), and staged supracerebellar infratentorial and occipital transtentorial/transfalcine (3/17) approaches. Of the 17 surgeries, 9 resulted in Simpson grade IV resection, and 3, 1, and 4 surgeries resulted in Simpson grades III, II, and I resection, respectively. The tentorial angle in cases with Simpson grade I resection was significantly smaller than in those with an unfavorable resection grade (43.3° ± 4.67° vs 54.0° ± 3.67°, p = 0.04). Complications occurred in 10 of 22 approaches (17 surgeries) and included visual field defects (6 cases, 2 permanent and 4 transient), hemiparesis (2 cases), hemidysesthesia (1 case), and cerebellar hematoma (1 case).

CONCLUSIONS

Falcotentorial meningiomas are challenging lesions. A steep tentorial angle is an unfavorable preoperative radiographic factor for achieving maximal resection with the supracerebellar infratentorial approach. Collectively, the study findings show that versatility is required to treat patients with falcotentorial meningiomas and that treatment goals and surgical approach must be individualized to obtain optimal surgical results.

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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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Peyton L. Nisson, Robert T. Wicks, Xiaochun Zhao, Whitney S. James, David Xu and Peter Nakaji

Cavernous malformations of the brain are low-flow vascular lesions that have a propensity to hemorrhage. Extensive surgical approaches are often required for operative cure of deep-seated lesions. A 23-year-old female presented with a cavernous malformation of the left posterior insula with surrounding hematoma measuring up to 3 cm. A minimally invasive (mini-)pterional craniotomy with a transsylvian approach was selected. Endoscopic assistance was utilized to confirm complete resection of the lesion. The minipterional craniotomy is a minimally invasive approach that provides optimal exposure for sylvian fissure dissection and resection of many temporal and insular lesions.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/9z6_EhU6lxs.

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Robert T. Wicks, Xiaochun Zhao, Douglas A. Hardesty, Brandon D. Liebelt and Peter Nakaji

Ethmoidal dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) have a near-universal association with cortical venous drainage and a malignant clinical course. Endovascular treatment options are often limited due to the high frequency of ophthalmic artery ethmoidal supply. A 64-year-old gentleman presented with syncope and was found to have a right ethmoidal DAVF. Rather than the traditional bicoronal craniotomy, an endoscope-assisted mini-pterional approach for clip ligation is demonstrated. The mini-pterional craniotomy allows a minimally invasive approach to ethmoidal DAVF via a lateral trajectory. The endoscope can help achieve full visualization in the narrow corridor.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/ZroXp-T35DI.

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Robert F. Spetzler, Felipe C. Albuquerque, Joseph M. Zabramski and Peter Nakaji

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Robert F. Spetzler, Cameron G. McDougall, Joseph M. Zabramski, Felipe C. Albuquerque, Nancy K. Hills, Peter Nakaji, John P. Karis and Robert C. Wallace

OBJECTIVE

The authors present the 10-year results of the Barrow Ruptured Aneurysm Trial (BRAT) for saccular aneurysms. The 1-, 3-, and 6-year results of the trial have been previously reported, as have the 6-year results with respect to saccular aneurysms. This final report comparing the safety and efficacy of clipping versus coiling is limited to an analysis of those patients presenting with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) from a ruptured saccular aneurysm.

METHODS

In the study, 362 patients had saccular aneurysms and were randomized equally to the clipping and the coiling cohorts (181 each). The primary outcome analysis was based on the assigned treatment group; poor outcome was defined as a modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score > 2 and was independently adjudicated. The extent of aneurysm obliteration was adjudicated by a nontreating neuroradiologist.

RESULTS

There was no statistically significant difference in poor outcome (mRS score > 2) or deaths between these 2 treatment arms during the 10 years of follow-up. Of 178 clip-assigned patients with saccular aneurysms, 1 (< 1%) was crossed over to coiling, and 64 (36%) of the 178 coil-assigned patients were crossed over to clipping. After the initial hospitalization, 2 of 241 (0.8%) clipped saccular aneurysms and 23 of 115 (20%) coiled saccular aneurysms required retreatment (p < 0.001). At the 10-year follow-up, 93% (50/54) of the clipped aneurysms were completely obliterated, compared with only 22% (5/23) of the coiled aneurysms (p < 0.001). Two patients had documented rebleeding, both died, and both were in the assigned and treated coiled cohort (2/83); no patient in the clipped cohort (0/175) died (p = 0.04). In 1 of these 2 patients, the hemorrhage was not from the target aneurysm but from an incidental basilar artery aneurysm, which was coiled at the same time.

CONCLUSIONS

There was no significant difference in clinical outcomes between the 2 assigned treatment groups as measured by mRS outcomes or deaths. Clinical outcomes in the patients with posterior circulation aneurysms were better in the coiling group at 1 year, but after 1 year this difference was no longer statistically significant. Rates of complete aneurysm obliteration and rates of retreatment favored patients who actually underwent clipping compared with those who underwent coiling.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01593267 (clinicaltrials.gov)

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Robert Lynagh, Mark Ishak, Joseph Georges, Danielle Lopez, Hany Osman, Michael Kakareka, Brandon Boyer, H. Warren Goldman, Jennifer Eschbacher, Mark C. Preul, Peter Nakaji, Alan Turtz, Steven Yocom and Denah Appelt

OBJECTIVE

Accurate histopathological diagnoses are often necessary for treating neuro-oncology patients. However, stereotactic biopsy (STB), a common method for obtaining suspicious tissue from deep or eloquent brain regions, fails to yield diagnostic tissue in some cases. Failure to obtain diagnostic tissue can delay initiation of treatment and may result in further invasive procedures for patients. In this study, the authors sought to determine if the coupling of in vivo optical imaging with an STB system is an effective method for identification of diagnostic tissue at the time of biopsy.

METHODS

A minimally invasive fiber optic imaging system was developed by coupling a 0.65-mm-diameter coherent fiber optic fluorescence microendoscope to an STB system. Human U251 glioma cells were transduced for stable expression of blue fluorescent protein (BFP) to produce U251-BFP cells that were utilized for in vitro and in vivo experiments. In vitro, blue fluorescence was confirmed, and tumor cell delineation by fluorescein sodium (FNa) was quantified with fluorescence microscopy. In vivo, transgenic athymic rats implanted with U251-BFP cells (n = 4) were utilized for experiments. Five weeks postimplantation, the rats received 5–10 mg/kg intravenous FNa and underwent craniotomies overlying the tumor implantation site and contralateral normal brain. A clinical STB needle containing our 0.65-mm imaging fiber was passed through each craniotomy and images were collected. Fluorescence images from regions of interest ipsilateral and contralateral to tumor implantation were obtained and quantified.

RESULTS

Live-cell fluorescence imaging confirmed blue fluorescence from transduced tumor cells and revealed a strong correlation between tumor cells quantified by blue fluorescence and FNa contrast (R2 = 0.91, p < 0.001). Normalized to background, in vivo FNa-mediated fluorescence intensity was significantly greater from tumor regions, verified by blue fluorescence, compared to contralateral brain in all animals (301.7 ± 34.18 relative fluorescence units, p < 0.001). Fluorescence intensity measured from the tumor margin was not significantly greater than that from normal brain (p = 0.89). Biopsies obtained from regions of strong fluorescein contrast were histologically consistent with tumor.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found that in vivo fluorescence imaging with an STB needle containing a submillimeter-diameter fiber optic fluorescence microendoscope provided direct visualization of neoplastic tissue in an animal brain tumor model prior to biopsy. These results were confirmed in vivo with positive control cells and by post hoc histological assessment. In vivo fluorescence guidance may improve the diagnostic yield of stereotactic biopsies.

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David G. Brachman, Emad Youssef, Christopher J. Dardis, Nader Sanai, Joseph M. Zabramski, Kris A. Smith, Andrew S. Little, Andrew G. Shetter, Theresa Thomas, Heyoung L. McBride, Stephen Sorensen, Robert F. Spetzler and Peter Nakaji

OBJECTIVE

Effective treatments for recurrent, previously irradiated intracranial meningiomas are limited, and resection alone is not usually curative. Thus, the authors studied the combination of maximum safe resection and adjuvant radiation using permanent intracranial brachytherapy (R+BT) in patients with recurrent, previously irradiated aggressive meningiomas.

METHODS

Patients with recurrent, previously irradiated meningiomas were treated between June 2013 and October 2016 in a prospective single-arm trial of R+BT. Cesium-131 (Cs-131) radiation sources were embedded in modular collagen carriers positioned in the operative bed on completion of resection. The Cox proportional hazards model with this treatment as a predictive term was used to model its effect on time to local tumor progression.

RESULTS

Nineteen patients (median age 64.5 years, range 50–78 years) with 20 recurrent, previously irradiated tumors were treated. The WHO grade at R+BT was I in 4 (20%), II in 14 (70%), and III in 2 (10%) cases. The median number of prior same-site radiation courses and same-site surgeries were 1 (range 1–3) and 2 (range 1–4), respectively; the median preoperative tumor volume was 11.3 cm3 (range 0.9–92.0 cm3). The median radiation dose from BT was 63 Gy (range 54–80 Gy). At a median radiographic follow-up of 15.4 months (range 0.03–47.5 months), local failure (within 1.5 cm of the implant bed) occurred in 2 cases (10%). The median treatment-site time to progression after R+BT has not been reached; that after the most recent prior therapy was 18.3 months (range 3.9–321.9 months; HR 0.17, p = 0.02, log-rank test). The median overall survival after R+BT was 26 months, with 9 patient deaths (47% of patients). Treatment was well tolerated; 2 patients required surgery for complications, and 2 experienced radiation necrosis, which was managed medically.

CONCLUSIONS

R+BT utilizing Cs-131 sources in modular carriers represents a potentially safe and effective treatment option for recurrent, previously irradiated aggressive meningiomas.

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Seungwon Yoon, Michael A. Mooney, Michael A. Bohl, John P. Sheehy, Peter Nakaji, Andrew S. Little and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

With drastic changes to the health insurance market, patient cost sharing has significantly increased in recent years. However, the patient financial burden, or out-of-pocket (OOP) costs, for surgical procedures is poorly understood. The goal of this study was to analyze patient OOP spending in cranial neurosurgery and identify drivers of OOP spending growth.

METHODS

For 6569 consecutive patients who underwent cranial neurosurgery from 2013 to 2016 at the authors’ institution, the authors created univariate and multivariate mixed-effects models to investigate the effect of patient demographic and clinical factors on patient OOP spending. The authors examined OOP payments stratified into 10 subsets of case categories and created a generalized linear model to study the growth of OOP spending over time.

RESULTS

In the multivariate model, case categories (craniotomy for pain, tumor, and vascular lesions), commercial insurance, and out-of-network plans were significant predictors of higher OOP payments for patients (all p < 0.05). Patient spending varied substantially across procedure types, with patients undergoing craniotomy for pain ($1151 ± $209) having the highest mean OOP payments. On average, commercially insured patients spent nearly twice as much in OOP payments as the overall population. From 2013 to 2016, the mean patient OOP spending increased 17%, from $598 to $698 per patient encounter. Commercially insured patients experienced more significant growth in OOP spending, with a cumulative rate of growth of 42% ($991 in 2013 to $1403 in 2016).

CONCLUSIONS

Even after controlling for inflation, case-mix differences, and partial fiscal periods, OOP spending for cranial neurosurgery patients significantly increased from 2013 to 2016. The mean OOP spending for commercially insured neurosurgical patients exceeded $1400 in 2016, with an average annual growth rate of 13%. As patient cost sharing in health insurance plans becomes more prevalent, patients and providers must consider the potential financial burden for patients receiving specialized neurosurgical care.