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  • By Author: Al-Mefty, Ossama x
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Walid I. Essayed, Prashin Unadkat, Ahmed Hosny, Sarah Frisken, Marcio S. Rassi, Srinivasan Mukundan Jr., James C. Weaver, Ossama Al-Mefty, Alexandra J. Golby and Ian F. Dunn


Endoscopic endonasal approaches are increasingly performed for the surgical treatment of multiple skull base pathologies. Preventing postoperative CSF leaks remains a major challenge, particularly in extended approaches. In this study, the authors assessed the potential use of modern multimaterial 3D printing and neuronavigation to help model these extended defects and develop specifically tailored prostheses for reconstructive purposes.


Extended endoscopic endonasal skull base approaches were performed on 3 human cadaveric heads. Preprocedure and intraprocedure CT scans were completed and were used to segment and design extended and tailored skull base models. Multimaterial models with different core/edge interfaces were 3D printed for implantation trials. A novel application of the intraoperative landmark acquisition method was used to transfer the navigation, helping to tailor the extended models.


Prostheses were created based on preoperative and intraoperative CT scans. The navigation transfer offered sufficiently accurate data to tailor the preprinted extended skull base defect prostheses. Successful implantation of the skull base prostheses was achieved in all specimens. The progressive flexibility gradient of the models’ edges offered the best compromise for easy intranasal maneuverability, anchoring, and structural stability. Prostheses printed based on intraprocedure CT scans were accurate in shape but slightly undersized.


Preoperative 3D printing of patient-specific skull base models is achievable for extended endoscopic endonasal surgery. The careful spatial modeling and the use of a flexibility gradient in the design helped achieve the most stable reconstruction. Neuronavigation can help tailor preprinted prostheses.

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Wenya Linda Bi, Patrick A. Brown, Mohammad Abolfotoh, Ossama Al-Mefty, Srinivasan Mukundan Jr., and Ian F. Dunn


The anatomical complexity of skull base tumors mandates detailed preoperative planning for safe resection. In particular, the location of critical vascular and bony structures can influence the surgical approach. Traditional methods, such as MRI, MR angiography and/or venography (MRA/MRV), CT angiography and/or venography (CTA/CTV), and digital subtraction angiography, each have their limitations. One alternative that combines the benefits of both detailed anatomy compatible with intraoperative image guidance and visualization of the vascular flow is the 320–detector row dynamic volume CTA/CTV. The authors investigated this technique’s impact on the surgical approach used in a series of complex intracranial tumors.


All patients with complex intracranial tumors who had undergone preoperative dynamic CTA/CTV as well as MRI in the period from July 2010 to June 2012 were retrospectively reviewed. Those in whom only routine CTA/CTV sequences had been obtained were excluded. Clinical records, including imaging studies, operative reports, and hospital course, were reviewed. Ease in detecting specific major arterial and venous tributaries using dynamic CTA/CTV was graded for each case. Furthermore, 2 skull base neurosurgeons projected a desired surgical approach for each tumor based on MRI studies, independent of the CTA/CTV sequences. The projected approach was then compared with the ultimately chosen surgical approach to determine whether preoperative awareness of vasculature patterns altered the actual operative approach.


Sixty-four patients were eligible for analysis. Dynamic CTA/CTV successfully demonstrated circle of Willis arteries, major draining sinuses, and deep internal venous drainage in all cases examined. The superior petrosal sinus, vein of Labbé, tentorial veins, and middle fossa veins were also identified in a majority of cases, which played an important role in preoperative planning. Visualization of critical vascular—especially venous—anatomy influenced the surgical approach in 39% (25 of 64) of the cases.


Dynamic CTA/CTV has been applied to few neurosurgical disease pathologies to date. This noninvasive technology offers insight into vascular flow patterns as well as 3D anatomical relationships and provides thin-cut sequences for intraoperative navigation. The authors propose dynamic CTA as an addition to the preoperative planning for complex skull base tumors.