Journal of Neurosurgery
Madjid Samii, Hussam Metwali and Venelin Gerganov
The aim of this study was to analyze the efficacy and risks of microsurgery via the hearing-preserving retrosigmoid approach in patients with intracanalicular vestibular schwannoma (VS) suffering from disabling vestibular symptoms, with special attention to vertigo.
This is a retrospective analysis of 19 patients with intracanalicular VS and disabling vestibular dysfunction as the main or only symptom (Group A). All of the patients reported having had disabling vertigo attacks. Subjective evaluation of the impairment of patients was performed before surgery, 3 weeks after surgery, 3 months after surgery, and 1 year after surgery, using the Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI). The main outcome measures were improvement in quality of life as measured using the DHI, and general and functional outcomes, in particular facial function and hearing. Patient age, preoperative tumor size, preoperative DHI score, and preservation of the nontumorous vestibular nerve were tested using a multivariate regression analysis to determine factors affecting the postoperative DHI score. The Mann-Whitney U-test was used to compare the postoperative DHI score at 3 weeks, 3 months, and 1 year after surgery with a control group of 19 randomly selected patients with intracanalicular VSs, who presented without vestibular symptoms (Group B). The occurrence of early postoperative discrete vertigo attacks was also compared between groups.
The preoperative DHI score was ≥ 54 in all patients. All patients reported having had disabling rotational vertigo before surgery. The only significant factor to affect the DHI outcome 3 weeks and 3 months after surgery was the preoperative DHI score. The DHI outcome after 1 year was not affected by the preoperative DHI score. Compared with the control group, the DHI score at 3 weeks and 3 months after surgery was significantly worse. There was no significant difference between the groups after 1 year. Vertigo was improved in all patients and completely resolved after 1 year in 17 patients.
Disabling vestibular dysfunction that affects quality of life should be considered an indication for surgery, even in otherwise asymptomatic patients with intracanalicular VS. Surgical removal of the tumor is safe and very effective in regard to symptom relief. All patients had excellent facial nerve function within 1 year after surgery, with a very good chance of hearing preservation.
Mohamadreza Hajiabadi, Madjid Samii and Rudolf Fahlbusch
Visual impairments are the most common objective manifestations of suprasellar lesions. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is a noninvasive MRI modality that depicts the subcortical white matter tracts in vivo. In this study the authors tested the value of visual pathway tractography in comparison with visual field and visual acuity analyses.
This prospective study consisted of 25 patients with progressive visual impairment due to suprasellar mass lesions and 6 control patients with normal vision without such lesions. Visual acuity, visual field, and the optic fundus were examined preoperatively and repeated 1 week and 3 months after surgery. Visual pathway DTI tractography was performed preoperatively, intraoperatively immediately after tumor resection, and 1 week and 3 months after surgery.
In the control group, pre- and postoperative visual status were normal and visual pathway tractography revealed fibers crossing the optic chiasm without any alteration. In patients with suprasellar lesions, vision improved in 24 of 25. The mean distance between optic tracts in tractography decreased after tumor resection and detectable fibers crossing the optic chiasm increased from 12% preoperatively to 72% postoperatively 3 months after tumor resection, and undetectable fibers crossing the optic chiasm decreased from 88% preoperatively to 27% postoperatively 3 months after tumor resection. Visual improvement after tumor removal 1 week and 3 months after surgery was significantly correlated with the distance between optic tracts in intraoperative tractography (p < 0.01).
Visual pathway DTI tractography appears to be a promising adjunct to the standard clinical and paraclinical visual examinations in patients with suprasellar mass lesions. The intraoperative findings, in particular the distance between optic tract fibers, can predict visual outcome after tumor resection. Furthermore, postoperative application of this technique may be useful in following anterior optic pathway recovery.
Madjid Samii, Maysam Alimohamadi and Venelin Gerganov
Removal of jugular foramen (JF) tumors usually requires extensive skull base approaches and is frequently associated with postoperative morbidities such as lower cranial nerve injury. The endoscope-assisted retrosigmoid infralabyrinthine approach is a relatively new approach to tumors extending into the bony canal of the JF. The authors present their experience with this approach.
The endoscope-assisted retrosigmoid infralabyrinthine approach was used in 7 patients, including 5 with schwannomas and 2 with paragangliomas. The access to the tumor, extent of its removal, postoperative neurological outcome, and approach-related morbidities were evaluated.
Two patients had a history of previous partial tumor removal, and 1 was treated by embolization followed by two courses of Gamma Knife radiosurgery. In this latter patient near-total resection was achieved. Gross-total resection was possible in the remaining 6 patients. Five patients benefited from endoscopic assistance: in 2 patients it showed a tumor remnant after microscopic tumor removal, while in 3 patients it allowed safe removal of the intraforaminal tumor by visualizing the surrounding structures. No permanent neurological deficit was observed after the operation. Two patients presenting with swallowing disturbance had temporary postoperative worsening that improved later. One patient developed CSF leakage that was managed with a lumbar drain.
This study shows that the judicious application of the endoscope-assisted retrosigmoid infralabyrinthine approach is safe and effective for removal of the schwannomas extending into the JF and selected paragangliomas without significant luminal invasion of the sigmoid-jugular system.
Maysam Alimohamadi and Madjid Samii
Venelin Gerganov, Hussam Metwali, Amir Samii, Rudolf Fahlbusch and Madjid Samii
An extensive craniopharyngioma is a tumor that extends into multiple compartments (subarachnoid spaces) and attains a size larger than 4 cm. A wide spectrum of approaches and strategies has been used for resection of such craniopharyngiomas. In this report the authors focused on the feasibility and efficacy of microsurgical resection of extensive craniopharyngiomas using a frontolateral approach.
A retrospective analysis was performed on 16 patients with extensive craniopharyngiomas who underwent operations using a frontolateral approach at one institution. The preoperative and postoperative clinical and radiological data, as well as the operative videos, were reviewed. The main focus of the review was the extent of radical tumor removal, early postoperative outcome, and approach-related complications.
Gross-total resection of craniopharyngioma was achieved in 14 (87.5%) of 16 cases. Early after surgery (within 3 months), 1 patient showed improvement in hormonal status, while in the remaining 15 patients it worsened. No major neurological morbidity was observed. Two patients experienced temporary psychotic disorders. Visual function improved in 6 patients and remained unchanged in 9. One patient experienced a new bitemporal hemianopsia. Three patients with features of short-term memory disturbances at presentation did show improvement after surgery. There were no deaths or significant approach-related morbidity in this patient series. Only 1 patient required revision surgery for a CSF leak.
The safe and simple frontolateral approach provides adequate access even to extensive craniopharyngiomas and enables their complete removal with a reasonable morbidity and approach-related complication rate.
Bo Wu, Weidong Liu and Longyi Chen
Venelin M. Gerganov, Mario Giordano, Amir Samii and Madjid Samii
An increasing number of patients with vestibular schwannomas (VSs) are being treated with radiosurgery. Treatment failure or secondary regrowth after radiosurgery, however, has been observed in 2%–9% of patients. In large tumors that compress the brainstem and in patients who experience rapid neurological deterioration, surgical removal is the only reasonable management option.
The authors evaluated the relevance of previous radiosurgery for the outcome of surgery in a series of 28 patients with VS. The cohort was further subdivided into Group A (radiosurgery prior to surgery) and Group B (partial tumor removal followed by radiosurgery prior to current surgery). The functional and general outcomes in these 2 groups were compared with those in a control group (no previous treatment, matched characteristics).
There were 15 patients in Group A, 13 in Group B, and 30 in the control group. The indications for surgery were sustained tumor enlargement and progression of neurological symptoms in 12 patients, sustained tumor enlargement in 15 patients, and worsening of neurological symptoms without evidence of tumor growth in 1 patient. Total tumor removal was achieved in all patients in Groups A and B and in 96.7% of those in the control group. There were no deaths in any group. Although no significant differences in the neurological morbidity or complication rates after surgery were noted, the risk of new cranial nerve deficits and CSF leakage was highest in patients in Group B. Patients who underwent previous radiosurgical treatment (Groups A and B) tended to be at higher risk of developing postoperative hematomas in the tumor bed or cerebellum. The rate of facial nerve anatomical preservation was highest in those patients who were not treated previously (93.3%) and decreased to 86.7% in the patients in Group A and to 61.5% in those in Group B. Facial nerve function at follow-up was found to correlate to the previous treatment; excellent or good function was seen in 87% of the patients from the control group, 78% of those in Group A, and 68% of those in Group B.
Complete microsurgical removal of VSs after failed radiosurgery is possible with an acceptable morbidity rate. The functional outcome, however, tends to be worse than in nontreated patients. Surgery after previous partial tumor removal and radiosurgery is most challenging and related to worse outcome.
Venelin M. Gerganov, Mario Giordano, Madjid Samii and Amir Samii
The reliable preoperative visualization of facial nerve location in relation to vestibular schwannoma (VS) would allow surgeons to plan tumor removal accordingly and may increase the safety of surgery. In this prospective study, the authors attempted to validate the reliability of facial nerve diffusion tensor (DT) imaging–based fiber tracking in a series of patients with large VSs. Furthermore, the authors evaluated the potential of this visualization technique to predict the morphological shape of the facial nerve (tumor compression–related flattening of the nerve).
Diffusion tensor imaging and anatomical images (constructive interference in steady state) were acquired in a series of 22 consecutive patients with large VSs and postprocessed with navigational software to obtain facial nerve fiber tracking. The location of the cerebellopontine angle (CPA) part of the nerve in relation to the tumor was recorded during surgery by the surgeon, who was blinded to the results of the fiber tracking. A correlative analysis was performed of the imaging-based location of the nerve compared with its in situ position in relation to the VS.
Fibers corresponding to the anatomical location and course of the facial nerve from the brainstem to the internal auditory meatus were identified with the DT imaging–based fiber tracking technique in all 22 cases. The location of the CPA segment of the facial nerve in relation to the VS determined during surgery corresponded to the location of the fibers, predicted by the DT imaging–based fiber tracking, in 20 (90.9%) of the 22 patients. No DT imaging–based fiber tracking correlates were found with the 2 morphological types of the nerve (compact or flat).
The current study of patients with large VSs has shown that the position of the facial nerve in relation to the tumor can be predicted reliably (in 91%) using DT imaging–based fiber tracking. These are preliminary results that need further verification in a larger series.
Venelin M. Gerganov, Ariyan Pirayesh, Mohsen Nouri, Nirjhar Hore, Wolf O. Luedemann, Shizuo Oi, Amir Samii and Madjid Samii
The current, generally accepted optimal management for hydrocephalus related to vestibular schwannomas (VSs) is primary tumor removal, with further treatment reserved only for patients who remain symptomatic. Previous studies have shown, however, that this management can lead to an increase in surgery-related complications. In this study, the authors evaluated their experience with the treatment of such patients, with the aim of identifying the following: 1) the parameters correlating to the need for specific hydrocephalus treatment following VS surgery; and 2) patients at risk for developing hydrocephalus-related complications.
This was a retrospective study of a 400-patient series. The complication rates and outcomes following primary hydrocephalus treatment versus primary VS removal were compared. Patients undergoing primary tumor removal were further subdivided on the basis of the need for subsequent hydrocephalus treatment. The 3 categories of parameters tested for correlation with the need for such subsequent treatment as well as with heightened risk for developing complications were patient-, tumor-, and hydrocephalus-related.
Of the entire series, 53 patients presented with hydrocephalus. Forty-eight of 53 patients underwent primary VS surgery, of whom 42 (87.5%) did not require additional hydrocephalus treatment. Of the 6 patients who did require additional hydrocephalus treatment, only 3 ultimately required a VP shunt. Factors correlating to the need of hydrocephalus treatment after VS removal were large tumor size, irregular tumor surface, and severe preoperative hydrocephalus. Patients with a longer symptom duration prior to surgery, those with polycyclic tumors, or with inhomogeneous VS, were at heightened risk for the development of CSF leaks. The general and functional outcome of surgery showed no correlation to the presence of preoperative hydrocephalus.
Primary tumor removal is the optimum management of disease in patients with VS with associated hydrocephalus; it leads to resolution of the hydrocephalus in the majority of cases, and the outcome is similar to that of patients without hydrocephalus. Certain factors may aid in identifying patients at risk for developing persistent hydrocephalus as well as those at risk for CSF leaks.