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Marcos Tatagiba, Madjid Samii, Cordula Matthies, Mowaffak El Azm and Robert Schonmayr

✓ Among 186 patients with preoperative hearing, a total of 189 acoustic neurinomas were removed through a lateral suboccipital approach with anatomical preservation of the cochlear nerve. Functional hearing was preserved in 92 (49%) of these patients; despite anatomical preservation of the cochlear nerve, deafness was the result in 51 % of the series. Many factors have been considered to cause hearing loss in patients whose cochlear nerve was intact after surgery; these include nerve retraction, nerve or cochlear ischemia, overheating and vibration damage to the nerve, and opening of the labyrinth.

To evaluate the significance of injury to the labyrinth in postoperative hearing loss, a prospective study was undertaken. High-resolution computerized tomography studies through the inner ear with bone algorithm were performed pre- and postoperatively. The postoperative status of the labyrinth was classified into three patterns: intact, fenestrated, and widely opened. Injury to the labyrinth occurred in 30% of the cases. The most frequently injured labyrinth structures were the crus commune of the posterior and superior semicircular canals (52%), the posterior semicircular canal (23%). the vestibule (21%), and the superior semicircular canal (4%).

A statistically significant relationship was found between injury to the labyrinth and deafness, elevated thresholds, and lower discrimination values at pure-tone audiograms and speech audiometry (p < 0.0001). The degree of the injury (comparison between fenestration and wide opening of the labyrinth) was also significantly related to postoperative deafness (p < 0.0001). Disturbance of the inner-ear fluids was considered to be the cause of the hearing loss. In 12 patients labyrinth injury was not associated with deafness. This finding may support the existence of mechanisms of cochlear protection. The homeostatic function of the endolymphatic sac was considered to play an important role in recovery of damaged hearing in these 12 cases.

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Gustavo A. Carvalho, Anette Lindeke, Marcos Tatagiba, Helmut Ostertag and Madjid Samii

✓ Granular-cell tumors are exceedingly rare neoplasms in the central nervous system. Their histogenesis has been a subject of longstanding controversy but substantial findings support the current theory of a Schwann cell origin. Other recent histopathological studies point to an astrocytic origin in those tumors which arise from the cerebral hemispheres. A case of a granular-cell tumor arising from the trigeminal nerve is described. The origin, clinical course, radiological features, and treatment of such unusual intracerebral tumors are discussed.

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Madjid Samii, Matteo M. Migliori, Marcos Tatagiba and Ramesh Babu

✓ A total of 27 patients with trigeminal schwannoma were treated between 1982 and 1992 at the Neurosurgery Department of Nordstadt Hospital. Twelve cases of solitary schwannoma without any family history or physical stigmata of neurofibromatosis were included and form the basis of this study. There were four women and eight men (mean age 44 years) in this series. Duration of symptoms ranged from 2 months to 6 years. The most frequent symptoms were either pain or numbness of the ipsilateral hemiface. The surgical approach was chosen depending on the tumor type. Tumors that belonged to Type A (five cases), which were predominantly in the middle fossa, were approached using a transsylvian method; Type B (one case), which presented predominantly in the cerebellopontine angle, was operated on via a retrosigmoid suboccipital craniectomy; Type C (five cases), which were dumbbell-shaped extending into both the middle and posterior fossa, were removed via a combined temporal craniotomy—presigmoidal method; and in Type D (one case), in which tumor was primarily extracranial with intracranial extension, an infratemporal extradural approach was undertaken. There was no operative mortality or long-term disability in this series. The follow-up period ranged from 12 to 60 months; during that time magnetic resonance imaging revealed tumor recurrence in two cases after 12 and 48 months, respectively, and these were excised again. An additional 178 cases collected from the world literature are also reviewed and analyzed.

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Madjid Samii, Ramesh P. Babu, Marcos Tatagiba and Abolghassem Sepehrnia

✓ Sixteen patients with schwannomas of the jugular foramen were operated on in the Department of Neurosurgery of the Nordstadt Hospital in Hannover, Germany, between 1986 and 1992. Patients with neurofibromatosis were excluded. The records of the 16 patients were retrospectively reviewed. There were five women and 11 men (mean age 43 years) with a symptom duration ranging from 6 months to 20 years (mean 5 years). The predominant symptoms were hearing loss, hoarseness, and cerebellar symptoms. Computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, and angiography were performed in all 16 patients. Depending on the radiological and surgical features, the tumors were classified into four types: Type A, a tumor primarily at the cerebellopontine angle with minimal enlargement of the jugular foramen (eight cases); Type B, a tumor primarily at the jugular foramen with intracranial extension (two cases); Type C, a primarily extracranial tumor with extension into the jugular foramen (one case); and Type D, a dumbbell-shaped tumor with both intra- and extracranial components (five cases).

A retromastoid suboccipital craniectomy was performed for Type A tumors, and a combined cervical-mastoidectomy for Types B, C, and D. Total tumor removal was achieved in all cases. There was no operative mortality. Postoperative complications were cerebrospinal fluid leakage in one patient and mastoiditis in two patients. The follow-up period ranged from 12 to 42 months (mean 22 months). All patients were alive at the last follow-up review, and CT and/or MR imaging showed no tumor recurrence.

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Madjid Samii, Marcos Tatagiba, Jose Piquer and Gustavo A. Carvalho

✓ A total of 40 patients with epidermoid cysts of the cerebellopontine angle (CPA) underwent surgery between 1980 and 1993. Total resection was achieved in 30 cases (75%); in 10 cases (25%) parts of the cyst capsule were left because they adhered to the brainstem and vascular structures of the CPA. One patient with very large bilateral epidermoid cysts, who underwent complete bilateral resection in one stage, died of pulmonary aspiration and infection. As of their latest clinical and radiological follow-up examinations (mean 5.7 years), 93% of the patients are able to lead useful lives. Three cases of cyst regrowth have been observed thus far. Modern radiological tools and microsurgery techniques have considerably improved the completeness of cyst resection and reduced postoperative mortality and morbidity rates; however, there still are some cases in which complete resection is impossible without producing severe neurological deficits.

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Madjid Samii, Gustavo A. Carvalho, Marcos Tatagiba, Cordula Matthies and Peter Vorkapic

✓ Twenty-five meningiomas located at the tentorial notch were surgically treated between 1978 and 1993 at the Neurosurgical Department of Nordstadt Hospital in Hannover, Germany. Nineteen meningiomas were classified as originating from the lateral tentorial incisura (Group I) and six were from the posteromedial tentorial incisura (Group II). Clinically, the most common symptom was trigeminal neuralgia, followed by headache. Neuroradiologically, 64% of the meningiomas were larger than 30 × 30 mm. Further evaluation revealed signs of brainstem compression in 88% of the patients. Radical surgical removal (Simpson I and II) was achieved in 88% of the cases. There was no mortality. Follow up revealed that 80% of patients were able to return to their premorbid activity. Surgical approaches to the tentorial notch included the suboccipital retrosigmoidal or the combined subtemporal—presigmoidal approach for Group I tentorial notch meningiomas; and the supracerebellar—infratentorial or the suboccipital—transtentorial approaches for Group II meningiomas. Because the best surgical approach to the tentorial incisura is still a matter of debate, the anatomy of the tentorial incisura, the clinical presentation of the patients, diagnostic indications, surgical findings, and follow up are discussed, with reference to the literature.

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Gustavo Adolpho Carvalho, Guido Nikkhah, Cordula Matthies, Götz Penkert and Madjid Samii

✓ Surgical management and prognosis of traction injuries of the brachial plexus depend on the accurate diagnosis of root avulsion from the spinal cord. Myelography, computerized tomography (CT) myelography, and recently magnetic resonance (MR) imaging have become the main radiological methods for preoperative diagnosis of cervical root avulsions. Most of the previous studies on the accuracy of CT myelography and MR imaging studies have correlated the radiological findings with the extraspinal surgical findings at brachial plexus surgery. Surgical experience shows that in many cases extraspinal findings diverge from intradural determinations. Consequently, only correlation with the intradural surgical findings will allow assessment of the factual accuracy of CT myelography and MR imaging studies.

In a prospective study, 135 cervical roots (C5–8) were evaluated by CT myelography and/or MR imaging and further explored intradurally via a hemilaminectomy. The accuracy of the preoperative CT myelography—based diagnosis in relation to the intraoperative findings was 85%. On the other hand, MR imaging demonstrated an accuracy of only 52%. The most common reasons for false-positive or false-negative findings were: 1) partial rootlet avulsion; 2) intradural fibrosis; and 3) dural cystic lesions. Computerized tomography myelography scans using 1- to 3-mm axial slices prove to be the most reliable method to evaluate preoperatively the presence of complete or partial root avulsion in traumatic brachial plexus injuries.

Because extradural judgment of cervical root avulsion can be unreliable, accurate assessment of intraspinal root avulsion enormously simplifies the decision concerning the choice of donor nerves for transplantation and/or neurotization during brachial plexus surgery.

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Jörg Klekamp, Ulrich Batzdorf, Madjid Samii and Hans Werner Bothe

✓ The authors conducted a retrospective study of 107 patients treated for syringomyelia associated with arachnoid scarring between 1976 and 1995 at the Departments of Neurosurgery at the Nordstadt Hospital in Hannover, Germany, and the University of California in Los Angeles, California. Twenty-nine patients have not been surgically treated to date because of their stable neurological status. Seventy-eight patients with progressive neurological deficits underwent a total of 121 surgical procedures and were followed for a mean period of 32 (±37) months. All patients demonstrated arachnoid scarring at a level close to the syrinx. In 52 patients the arachnoid scarring was related to spinal trauma, whereas 55 had no history of trauma and developed arachnoid scarring as a result of an inflammatory reaction. Of these, 15 patients had undergone intradural surgery, eight had suffered from spinal meningitis, three had undergone peridural anesthesia, and one each presented with a history of osteomyelitis, spondylodiscitis, and subarachnoid hemorrhage. No obvious cause for the inflammatory reaction resulting in arachnoid scarring could be ascertained for the remaining 26 patients.

The postoperative neurological outcome correlated with the severity of arachnoid pathology and the type of surgery performed. Shunting of the syrinx to the subarachnoid, pleural, or peritoneal cavity was associated with recurrence rates of 92% and 100% for focal and extensive scarring, respectively. Successful long-term management of the syrinx required microsurgical dissection of the arachnoid scar and decompression of the subarachnoid space with a fascia lata graft. This operation stabilized the preoperative progressive neurological course in 83% of patients with a focal arachnoid scar. For patients with extensive arachnoid scarring over multiple spinal levels or after previous surgery, clinical stabilization was achieved in only 17% with this technique.

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Cordula Matthies and Madjid Samii

✓ The usefulness of intraoperative monitoring in cerebellopontine angle surgery should be improved by obtaining faster and stronger brainstem auditory evoked potential (BAEP) responses. A new technique of direct recording at the brainstem has been developed, which is applicable to all tumor sizes. By placing a retractor with electrodes attached to its tip at the cerebellomedullary junction, the authors have recorded BAEP amplitudes that are 10 times greater than those recorded using the conventional technique. Only small sampling numbers (64–256 recordings) are required and are obtained in 5 to 15 seconds. The technique has been applied successfully in 34 patients who underwent vestibular schwannoma resections. It has also been tested in patients with intrameatal—extrameatal meningiomas and in those with vascular compressive disorders; there have been no false results. The advantages of this new technique are: 1) identification of BAEP components is easier and faster; 2) reliable BAEP responses are obtained in some cases in which conventional BAEP responses are lost or severely deformed; and 3) BAEP response deterioration and improvement are recognized earlier than would occur using the conventional technique. This last advantage provides the surgeon with a useful warning at a stage of surgery at which BAEP changes are still temporary and can be reversed. This method is different from other trials of intradural BAEP recordings in three respects: its use is not limited to particular tumor sizes; there is no interference with the surgical process; and, most important, the obtained responses correlate well with those of conventional BAEP responses, probably because the recording site is in the vicinity of the anterior cochlear nucleus. In conclusion, the chances of useful monitoring feedback with adequate adaptation of the microsurgical strategy are improved considerably.

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