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Flavio Leitao Filho, Marcos Tatagiba, Gustavo A. Carvalho, Wiebke Weichhold, Jörg Klekamp and Madjid Samii

✓ Neurenteric cysts of the craniocervical junction (CCJ) are very rare lesions. Their origin is the subject of long-standing controversy, but a failure during the embryogenic phase may be responsible for their formation. Accurate histopathological diagnosis may be difficult due to the similarity they share with other cystic lesions such as colloidal cysts, Rathke cysts, and cystic teratomas. Surgical removal is the treatment of choice for intracranial neurenteric cysts, but in some cases, infiltration of the surrounding structures may hinder complete resection. Three cases of neurenteric cysts located at the CCJ are reported.

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Madjid Samii, Marcos Tatagiba and Gustavo A. Carvalho

Object. The goal of this study was to determine whether some petroclival tumors can be safely and efficiently treated using a modified retrosigmoid petrosal approach that is called the retrosigmoid intradural suprameatal approach (RISA).

Methods. The RISA was introduced in 1983, and since that time 12 patients harboring petroclival meningiomas have been treated using this technique. The RISA includes a retrosigmoid craniotomy and drilling of the suprameatus petrous bone, which is located above and anterior to the internal auditory meatus, thus providing access to Meckel's cave and the middle fossa.

Radical tumor resection (Simpson Grade I or II) was achieved in nine (75%) of the 12 patients. Two patients underwent subtotal resection (Simpson Grade III), and one patient underwent complete resection of tumor at the posterior fossa with subtotal resection at the middle fossa. There were no deaths or severe complications in this series; all patients did well postoperatively, being independent at the time of their last follow-up examinations (mean 5.6 years). Neurological deficits included facial paresis in one patient and worsening of hearing in two patients.

Conclusions. Theapproach described here is a useful modification of the retrosigmoid approach, which allows resection of large petroclival tumors without the need for supratentorial craniotomies. Although technically meticulous, this approach is not time-consuming; it is safe and can produce good results. This is the first report on the use of this approach for petroclival meningiomas.

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Madjid Samii, Marcos Tatagiba and Gustavo A. Carvalho

Object

The goal of this study was to determine whether some petroclival tumors can be safely and efficiently treated using a modified retrosigmoid petrosal approach that is called the retrosigmoid intradural suprameatal approach (RISA).

Methods

The RISA was introduced in 1983, and since that time 12 patients harboring petroclival meningiomas have been treated using this technique. The RISA includes a retrosigmoid craniotomy and drilling of the suprameatus petrous bone, which is located above and anterior to the internal auditory meatus, thus providing access to Meckel's cave and the middle fossa.

Radical tumor resection (Simpson Grade I or II) was achieved in nine (75%) of the 12 patients. Two patients underwent subtotal resection (Simpson Grade III), and one patient underwent complete resection of tumor at the posterior fossa with subtotal resection at the middle fossa. There were no deaths or severe complications in this series; all patients did well postoperatively, being independent at the time of their last follow-up examinations (mean 5.6 years). Neurological deficits included facial paresis in one patient and worsening of hearing in two patients.

Conclusions

The approach described here is a useful modification of the retrosigmoid approach, which allows resection of large petroclival tumors without the need for supratentorial craniotomies. Although technically meticulous, this approach is not time consuming; it is safe and can produce good results. This is the first report on the use of this approach for petroclival meningiomas.

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Madjid Samii, Steffen K. Rosahl, Gustavo A. Carvalho and Thomas Krzizok

✓ Superior oblique myokymia (SOM) is a rare eye movement disorder presenting as uniocular rotatory microtremor due to intermittent contractions of the superior oblique muscle. Medical treatment usually fails to provide long-term benefit for the patient and has considerable side effects. Surgical alternatives including tenotomy or partial tenectomy of the superior oblique tendon often result in incomplete resolution of the visual symptoms. The authors report a patient who experienced immediate cessation of disabling SOM following microvascular decompression of the fourth nerve at the root exit zone. Temporary double vision at downgaze resolved 5 months after surgery. There was no recurrence of oscillopsia during a follow-up of 22 months to date.

From this single observation it appears likely that vascular compression of the trochlear nerve could be a significant pathophysiological factor contributing to SOM. In the hands of an experienced surgeon, microvascular decompression at the brainstem exit zone of this nerve may evolve as the method of choice for selected cases of disabling SOM.

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Madjid Samii, Gustavo A. Carvalho, Guido Nikkhah and Götz Penkert

✓ Over the last 16 years, 345 surgical reconstructions of the brachial plexus were performed using nerve grafting or neurotization techniques in the Neurosurgical Department at the Nordstadt Hospital, Hannover, Germany. Sixty-five patients underwent graft placement between the C-5 and C-6 root and the musculocutaneous nerve to restore the flexion of the arm. A retrospective study was conducted, including statistical evaluation of the following pre- and intraoperative parameters in 54 patients: 1) time interval between injury and surgery; 2) choice of the donor nerve (C-5 or C-6 root); and 3) length of the grafts used for repairs between the C-5 or C-6 root and the musculocutaneous nerve.

The postoperative follow-up interval ranged from 9 months to 14.6 years, with a mean ± standard deviation of 4.4 ± 3 years. Reinnervation of the biceps muscle was found in 61% of the patients. Comparison of the different preoperative time intervals (1–6 months, 7–12 months, and > 12 months) showed a significantly better outcome in those patients with a preoperative delay of less than 7 months (p < 0.05). Reinnervation of the musculocutaneous nerve was demonstrated in 76% of the patients who underwent surgery within the first 6 months postinjury, in 60% of the patients with a delay of between 6 and 12 months, and in only 25% of the patients who underwent surgery after 12 months. Comparison of the final outcome according to the root (C-5 or C-6) that was used for grafting the musculocutaneous nerve showed no statistical difference.

Furthermore, statistical analysis (regression test) of the length of the grafts between the donor (C-5 or C-6 root) nerve and the musculocutaneous nerve displayed an inverse relationship between the graft length and the postoperative outcome.

Together, these results provide additional information to enhance the functional outcome of brachial plexus surgery.

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Madjid Samii, Gustavo A. Carvalho, Guido Nikkhah and Götz Penkert

Over the last 16 years, 345 surgical reconstructions of the brachial plexus were performed using nerve grafting or neurotization techniques in the Neurosurgical Department at the Nordstadt Hospital, Hannover, Germany. Sixty-five patients underwent graft placement between the C-5 and C-6 root and the musculocutaneous nerve to restore the flexion of the arm. A retrospective study was conducted, including statistical evaluation of the following pre- and intraoperative parameters in 54 patients: 1) time interval between injury and surgery; 2) choice of the donor nerve (C-5 or C-6 root); and 3) length of the grafts used for repairs between the C-5 or C-6 root and the musculocutaneous nerve.

The postoperative follow-up interval ranged from 9 months to 14.6 years, with a mean ± standard deviation of 4.4 ± 3 years. Reinnervation of the biceps muscle was found in 61% of the patients. Comparison of the different preoperative time intervals (1-6 months, 7-12 months, and > 12 months) showed a significantly better outcome in those patients with a preoperative delay of less than 7 months (p < 0.05). Reinnervation of the musculocutaneous nerve was demonstrated in 76% of the patients who underwent surgery within the first 6 months postinjury, in 60% of the patients with a delay of between 6 and 12 months, and in only 25% of the patients who underwent surgery after 12 months. Comparison of the final outcome according to the root (C-5 or C-6) that was used for grafting the musculocutaneous nerve showed no statistical difference.

Furthermore, statistical analysis (regression test) of the length of the grafts between the donor (C-5 or C-6 root) nerve and the musculocutaneous nerve displayed an inverse relationship between the graft length and the postoperative outcome.

Together, these results provide additional information to enhance the functional outcome of brachial plexus surgery.

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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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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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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.