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Julia Onken, Kathrin Obermüller, Franziska Staub-Bartelt, Bernhard Meyer, Peter Vajkoczy and Maria Wostrack

OBJECTIVE

Spinal meningiomas (sMNGs) are relatively rare in comparison to intracranial MNGs. sMNGs localized anterior to the denticulate ligament (aMNGs) represent a surgically challenging subgroup. A high perioperative complication rate due to the need for complex surgical approaches has been described. In the present study, the authors report on their surgical experience that involves two institutions in which 207 patients underwent surgery for sMNGs. Special focus was placed on patients with aMNGs that were treated via a unilateral posterior approach (ULPA).

METHODS

Between 2005 and 2017, 207 patients underwent resection of sMNGs at one of two institutions. The following characteristics were assessed: tumor size and localization, surgical approach, duration of surgery, grade of resection, peri- and postoperative complication rates, and neurological outcome. Data were compared between the subgroups of patients according to the lesion’s relationship to the denticulate ligament and to surgical approach.

RESULTS

The authors identified 48 patients with aMNGs, 86 patients with lateral MNGs, and 76 patients with posterior MNGs (pMNGs). Overall, 66.6% of aMNGs and 64% of pMNGs were reached via a ULPA. aMNGs that were approached via a ULPA showed reduced duration of surgery (131 vs 224 minutes, p < 0.0001) and had surgical complication rates and neurological outcomes comparable to those of lesions that were approached via a bilateral approach. No significant differences in complication rate, outcomes, and extent of resection were seen between aMNGs and pMNGs.

CONCLUSIONS

The duration of surgery, extent of resection, and outcomes are comparable between aMNGs and pMNGs when removed via a ULPA. Thus, ULPA represents a safe route to achieve a gross-total resection, even in cases of aMNG.

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George A. Alexiou and Spyridon Voulgaris

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Maria Wostrack, Florian Ringel, Sven O. Eicker, Max Jägersberg, Karl Schaller, Johannes Kerschbaumer, Claudius Thomé, Ehab Shiban, Michael Stoffel, Benjamin Friedrich, Victoria Kehl, Peter Vajkoczy, Bernhard Meyer and Julia Onken

OBJECTIVE

Spinal ependymomas are rare glial neoplasms. Because their incidence is low, only a few larger studies have investigated this condition. There are no clear data concerning prognosis and therapy. The aim of the study was to describe the natural history, perioperative clinical course, and local tumor control of adult patients with spinal ependymomas who were surgically treated under modern treatment standards.

METHODS

The authors performed a multicenter retrospective study. They identified 158 adult patients with spinal ependymomas who had received surgical treatment between January 2006 and June 2013. The authors analyzed the clinical and histological aspects of these cases to identify the predictive factors for postoperative morbidity, tumor resectability, and recurrence.

RESULTS

Gross-total resection (GTR) was achieved in 80% of cases. At discharge, 37% of the patients showed a neurological decline. During follow-up the majority recovered, whereas 76% showed at least preoperative status. Permanent functional deterioration remained in 2% of the patients. Transient deficits were more frequent in patients with cervically located ependymomas (p = 0.004) and in older patients (p = 0.002). Permanent deficits were independently predicted only by older age (p = 0.026). Tumor progression was observed in 15 cases. The 5-year progression-free survival (PFS) rate was 80%, and GTR (p = 0.037), WHO grade II (p = 0.009), and low Ki-67 index (p = 0.005) were independent prognostic factors for PFS. Adjuvant radiation therapy was performed in 15 cases. No statistically relevant effects of radiation therapy were observed among patients with incompletely resected ependymomas (p = 0.079).

CONCLUSIONS

Due to its beneficial value for PFS, GTR is important in the treatment of spinal ependymoma. Gross-total resection is feasible in the majority of cases, with acceptable rates of permanent deficits. Also, Ki-67 appears to be an important prognostic factor and should be included in a grading scheme for spinal ependymomas.

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Ehab Shiban, Elisabeth Török, Maria Wostrack, Bernhard Meyer and Jens Lehmberg

OBJECT

Far-lateral or extreme-lateral approaches to the skull base allow access to the lateral and anterior portion of the lower posterior fossa and foramen magnum. These approaches include a certain extent of resection of the condyle, which potentially results in craniocervical junction instability. However, it is debated what extent of condyle resection is safe and at what extent of condyle resection an occipitocervical fusion should be recommended. The authors reviewed cases of condyle resection/destruction with regard to necessity of occipitocervical fusion.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective analysis of all patients in whom a far- or extreme-lateral approach including condyle resection of various extents was performed between January 2007 and December 2014.

RESULTS

Twenty-one consecutive patients who had undergone a unilateral far- or extreme-lateral approach including condyle resection were identified. There were 10 male and 11 female patients with a median age of 61 years (range 22–83 years). The extent of condyle resection was 25% or less in 15 cases, 50% in 1 case, and greater than 75% in 5 cases. None of the patients who underwent condyle resection of 50% or less was placed in a collar postoperatively or developed neck pain. Two of the patients with condyle resection of greater than 75% were placed in a semirigid collar for a period of 3 months postoperatively and remained free of pain after this period. At last follow-up none of the cases showed any clear sign of radiological or clinical instability.

CONCLUSIONS

The unilateral resection or destruction of the condyle does not necessarily result in craniocervical instability. No evident instability was encountered even in the 5 patients who underwent removal of more than 75% of the condyle. The far- or extreme-lateral approach may be safer than generally accepted with regard to craniocervical instability as generally considered and may not compel fusion in all cases with condylar resection of more than 75%.

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Ehab Shiban, Sandro M. Krieg, Bernhard Haller, Niels Buchmann, Thomas Obermueller, Tobias Boeckh-Behrens, Maria Wostrack, Bernhard Meyer and Florian Ringel

OBJECT

Subcortical stimulation is a method used to evaluate the distance from the stimulation site to the corticospinal tract (CST) and to decide whether the resection of an adjacent lesion should be terminated to prevent damage to the CST. However, the correlation between stimulation intensity and distance to the CST has not yet been clearly assessed. The objective of this study was to investigate the appropriate correlation between the subcortical stimulation pattern and the distance to the CST.

METHODS

Monopolar subcortical motor evoked potential (MEP) mapping was performed in addition to continuous MEP monitoring in 37 consecutive patients with lesions located in motor-eloquent locations. The proximity of the resection cavity to the CST was identified by subcortical MEP mapping. At the end of resection, the point at which an MEP response was still measurable with minimal subcortical MEP intensity was marked with a titanium clip. At this location, different stimulation paradigms were executed with cathodal or anodal stimulation at 0.3-, 0.5-, and 0.7-msec pulse durations. Postoperatively, the distance between the CST as defined by postoperative diffusion tensor imaging fiber tracking and the titanium clip was measured. The correlation between this distance and the subcortical MEP electrical charge was calculated.

RESULTS

Subcortical MEP mapping was successful in all patients. There were no new permanent motor deficits. Transient new postoperative motor deficits were observed in 14% (5/36) of cases. Gross-total resection was achieved in 75% (27/36) and subtotal resection (> 80% of tumor mass) in 25% (9/36) of cases. Stimulation intensity with various pulse durations as well as current intensity was plotted against the measured distance between the CST and the titanium clip on postoperative MRI using diffusion-weighted imaging fiberitracking tractography. Correlational and regression analyses showed a nonlinear correlation between stimulation intensity and the distance to the CST. Cathodal stimulation appeared better suited for subcortical stimulation.

CONCLUSIONS

Subcortical MEP mapping is an excellent intraoperative method to determine the distance to the CST during resection of motor-eloquent lesions and is highly capable of further reducing the risk of a new neurological deficit.

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Ehab Shiban, Sandro M. Krieg, Thomas Obermueller, Maria Wostrack, Bernhard Meyer and Florian Ringel

OBJECT

Resection of a motor eloquent lesion has become safer because of intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring (IOM). Stimulation of subcortical motor evoked potentials (scMEPs) is increasingly used to optimize patient safety. So far, scMEP stimulation has been performed intermittently during resection of eloquently located lesions. Authors of the present study assessed the possibility of using a resection instrument for continuous stimulation of scMEPs.

METHODS

An ultrasonic surgical aspirator was attached to an IOM stimulator and was used as a monopolar subcortical stimulation probe. The effect of the aspirator’s use at different ultrasound power levels (0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%) on stimulation intensity was examined in a saline bath. Afterward monopolar stimulation with the surgical aspirator was used during the resection of subcortical lesions in the vicinity of the corticospinal tract in 14 patients in comparison with scMEP stimulation via a standard stimulation electrode. During resection, the stimulation current at which an MEP response was still measurable with subcortical stimulation using the surgical aspirator was compared with the corresponding stimulation current needed using a standard monopolar subcortical stimulation probe at the same location.

RESULTS

The use of ultrasound at different energy levels did result in a slight but irrelevant increase in stimulation energy via the tip of the surgical aspirator in the saline bath. Stimulation of scMEPs using the surgical aspirator or monopolar probe was successful and almost identical in all patients. One patient developed a new permanent neurological deficit. Transient new postoperative paresis was observed in 28% (4 of 14) of cases. Gross-total resection was achieved in 64% (9 of 14) cases and subtotal resection (> 80% of tumor mass) in 35% (5 of 14).

CONCLUSIONS

Continuous motor mapping using subcortical stimulation via a surgical aspirator, in comparison with the sequential use of a standard monopolar stimulation probe, is a feasible and safe method without any disadvantages. Compared with the standard probe, the aspirator offers continuous information on the distance to the corticospinal tract.

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Julius Dengler, Nicolai Maldaner, Philippe Bijlenga, Jan-Karl Burkhardt, Alexander Graewe, Susanne Guhl, Bujung Hong, Christian Hohaus, Adisa Kursumovic, Dorothee Mielke, Karl-Michael Schebesch, Maria Wostrack, Daniel Rufenacht, Peter Vajkoczy, Nils Ole Schmidt and Giant Intracranial Aneurysm Study Group

OBJECT

The underlying mechanisms causing intracranial perianeurysmal edema (PAE) are still poorly understood. Since PAE is most frequently observed in giant intracranial aneurysms (GIAs), the authors designed a study to examine the occurrence of PAE in relation to the location, size, and partial thrombosis (PT) of GIAs along with the clinical impact of PAE.

METHODS

Magnetic resonance imaging data for patients with a diagnosis of unruptured GIA from the international multicenter Giant Intracranial Aneurysm Registry were retrospectively analyzed with regard to location and size of the GIA, PAE volume, and the presence of PT. The occurrence of PAE was correlated to clinical findings.

RESULTS

Imaging data for 69 GIAs were eligible for inclusion in this study. Perianeurysmal edema was observed in 33.3% of all cases, with the highest frequency in GIAs of the middle cerebral artery (MCA; 68.8%) and the lowest frequency in GIAs of the cavernous internal carotid artery (ICA; 0.0%). Independent predictors of PAE formation were GIA volume (OR 1.13, p = 0.02) and the occurrence of PT (OR 9.84, p = 0.04). Giant intracranial aneurysm location did not predict PAE occurrence. Giant aneurysms with PAE were larger than GIAs without PAE (p < 0.01), and GIA volume correlated with PAE volume (rs = 0.51, p = 0.01). Perianeurysmal edema had no influence on the modified Rankin Scale score (p = 0.30 or the occurrence of aphasia (p = 0.61) or hemiparesis (p = 0.82).

CONCLUSIONS

Perianeurysmal edema was associated with GIA size and the presence of PT. As no PAE was observed in cavernous ICA aneurysms, even though they exerted mass effect on the brain and also displayed PT, the dura mater may serve as a barrier protecting the brain from PAE formation.

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Maria Wostrack, Ehab Shiban, Thomas Obermueller, Jens Gempt, Bernhard Meyer and Florian Ringel

Object

Intradural cauda equina and conus medullaris tumors (CECMTs) are rare. Only a few large clinical series exist to date. Therefore, clinical symptoms, surgical complications, and outcomes are poorly understood. The aim of the present study was to evaluate outcome after surgery of CECMTs and to identify the factors associated with a worse clinical prognosis based on the results of a series with sufficiently high number of cases.

Methods

All cases of intradural CECMTs treated surgically at the authors' department between March 2006 and May 2012 were retrospectively evaluated. Arachnoid cysts and multifocal tumors were excluded. Sixty-eight adult patients met the inclusion criteria (35 female and 33 male patients; median age 56 years). Follow-up data were available for 72% (n = 49) in a median period of 9 months.

Results

Overall, 18 tumors were located intramedullary and 50 extramedullary. The majority were nerve sheath tumors (n = 27), ependymomas (n = 17), and meningiomas (n = 9). The most common preoperative symptom was pain. The rate of new transient postoperative impairment was 18% (n = 12), and new permanent deficits were observed in only 6% (n = 4). Overall neurological improvement was achieved in 62%. The reversibility of preoperative symptoms was related to the interval between the time of symptom onset and the time of surgery and to the presence of preoperative neurological deficits. Surgery of ependymoma and carcinoma metastases was associated with a higher rate of morbidity.

Conclusions

Intradural CECMTs present as a group of tumors with varying histological features and clinical symptoms. Symptomatic manifestation is usually unspecific, mimicking degenerative lumbar spine syndromes. Despite a significant risk of transient deterioration, early surgery is advisable because more than 94% of patients maintain at least their preoperative status and more than 60% improve during follow-up. The reversibility of preoperative symptoms is related to the duration between symptom onset and surgery and to the presence of preoperative neurological deficits. The prognosis for recovery from cauda equina or conus medullaris syndrome is less favorable than for other deficits. Surgery of ependymoma is associated with a higher morbidity rate than other benign entities.

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Jens Gempt, Julia Gerhardt, Vivien Toth, Stefanie Hüttinger, Yu-Mi Ryang, Maria Wostrack, Sandro M. Krieg, Bernhard Meyer, Annette Förschler and Florian Ringel

Object

Brain metastases occur in 10% to 40% of patients harboring cancer. In cases of neurosurgical metastasis resection, all postoperative neurological deterioration should be avoided. Reasons for postoperative deficits can be direct tissue damage due to resection, hemorrhage, venous congestive infarcts, or arterial ischemic events leading to tissue infarction. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether postoperative ischemic infarctions occur in surgery for brain metastasis and to determine their influence on new postoperative neurological deficits.

Methods

Patients who underwent resection of brain metastases and had preoperative and early postoperative (within 48 hours) MRI scans, including diffusion-weighted imaging sequences and apparent diffusion coefficient maps, between January 2009 and May 2012 were included in this study. Clinical and histopathological data (histopathological results, pre- and postoperative neurological status, and previous tumor-specific therapy) were recorded.

Results

One hundred twenty-two patients (56 male, 66 female) who underwent resection of brain metastases were included. The patients' mean age was 60 years (range 21–89 years). The mean time span from initial tumor diagnosis to resection of brain metastasis was 44 months (range 0–338 months). The mean preoperative Karnofsky Performance Status was 80% (exact mean 76% ± 17% [SD]), and the mean postoperative value was 80% (exact mean 78% ± 17%). Twelve (9.8%) of the 122 patients had postoperative permanent worsening of a neurological deficit or a new permanent neurological deficit; 44 (36.1%) of the 122 patients had postoperative ischemic lesions. When comparing patients with and without previous brain irradiation, 53.8% of patients with previous brain irradiation had ischemic lesions on postoperative imaging compared with 31.3% of patients without previous brain irradiation (p = 0.033). There was a significant association between ischemia and postoperative neurological status deterioration (transient or permanent); 13 (29.5%) of 44 patients with ischemic lesions had deterioration of their neurological status compared with 7 (9%) of the 78 patients who did not have ischemic lesions (p = 0.003).

Conclusions

This study demonstrates a high prevalence of vascular incidents in patients undergoing resection for metastatic brain disease. Patients harboring postoperative ischemic lesions detected by MRI have a higher rate of neurological deficits (transient or permanent). Patients who had previous irradiation therapy are at higher risk of developing postoperative ischemic lesions. A large number of postoperative neurological deficits are caused by ischemic incidents.