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Lennart H. Stieglitz, Karsten H. Wrede, Alireza Gharabaghi, Venelin M. Gerganov, Amir Samii, Madjid Samii and Wolf O. Luedemann


The aim of this study was to identify patients likely to develop CSF leaks after vestibular schwannoma surgery using a retrospective analysis for the identification of risk factors.


Between January 2001 and December 2006, 420 patients underwent retrosigmoidal microsurgical tumor removal in a standardized procedure. Of these 420 patients, 363 underwent treatment for the first time, and 27 suffered from recurrent tumors. Twenty-six patients had bilateral tumors due to neurofibromatosis Type 2, and 4 patients had previously undergone radiosurgical treatment. An analysis was performed to examine the incidence of postoperative CSF fistulas in all 4 groups.


The incidence of CSF leakage was higher in the tumor recurrence group (11.1%) than in patients undergoing surgery for the first time (4.4%). There were no CSF fistulas in the neurofibromatosis Type 2 group or in patients with preoperative radiosurgical treatment. Tumor size was identified as a possible risk factor in a previous study.


Surgery for recurrent tumors is a significant risk factor for the development of CSF leaks.

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Madjid Samii, Andrei Koerbel, Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Federico Di Rocco, Amir Samii and Alireza Gharabaghi

✓ Increasing rates of facial and cochlear nerve preservation after vestibular schwannoma surgery have been achieved in the last 30 years. However, the management of a partially or completely damaged facial nerve remains an important issue. In such a case, several immediate or delayed repair techniques have been used.

On the basis of recent studies of successful end-to-side neurorrhaphy, the authors applied this technique in a patient with an anatomically preserved but partially injured facial nerve during vestibular schwannoma surgery. The authors interposed a sural nerve graft to reinforce the facial nerve whose partial anatomical continuity had been preserved. On follow-up examinations 18 months after surgery, satisfactory cosmetic results for facial nerve function were observed.

The end-to-side interposed nerve graft appears to be a reasonable alternative in cases of partial facial nerve injury, and might be a future therapeutic option for other cranial nerve injuries.

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Alireza Gharabaghi, Andrei Koerbel, Amir Samii, Jan Kaminsky, Henning Von Goesseln, Marcos Tatagiba and Madjid Samii


Surgical manipulation of the fifth cranial nerve during its intra- or extracranial course may lead to bradycardia or even asystole as well as arterial hypotension, a phenomenon described as the trigeminocardiac reflex (TCR). The authors studied the impact of this reflex on postoperative auditory function in patients undergoing vestibular schwannoma (VS) surgery.


One hundred patients scheduled for VS surgery were studied prospectively for parameters influencing the postoperative auditory function. The evaluation included sex, age, pre- and postoperative auditory function, preoperative mean arterial blood pressure, preoperative medical diseases or medication (for example, antiarrhythmia drugs), tumor size and localization, and the intraoperative occurrence of the TCR.

The TCR, which occurred in 11% of the patients, influenced the postoperative hearing function in the patients with Hannover Class T3 and T4 VSs.

With an overall hearing preservation of 47%, 11.1% of the patients in the TCR group and 51.4% of those in the non-TCR group experienced preserved hearing function postoperatively. In cases involving larger tumors (Hannover Class T3 and T4), an intraoperative TCR was associated with a significantly worse postoperative hearing function during VS surgery (p = 0.005).


The hypotension following TCR is a negative prognostic factor for hearing preservation in patients undergoing VS surgery. Patients’ knowledge of this can be increased pre- and postoperatively. Further study of this phenomenon will advance the understanding of the underlying mechanisms and may help to improve hearing preservation by controlling the occurrence of the TCR.

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Andrei Koerbel, Alireza Gharabaghi, Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Marcos Tatagiba and Madjid Samii

The extraordinary improvement of patient outcome after surgical treatment for vestibular schwannomas is relatively recent and has occurred mainly over the last 30 years. The introduction of microsurgical techniques has resulted in increasing degrees of precise anatomical and functional preservation of the facial and cochlear nerves. An expanded microsurgical technique accompanied by continuous electrophysiological monitoring has resulted in marked changes in the primary goals for this surgery. Whereas in the past the primary goal of vestibular schwannoma management was to preserve the patient's life, the objective in vestibular schwannoma treatment today is to preserve neurological function.

Long-term follow-up examinations show negligible recurrence rates, indicating that the aim of preservation of nerve function does not limit the completeness of tumor removal with modern neurosurgical techniques. Despite these advances in preserving the anatomical integrity of, for example, the cochlear nerve, losses of function and even deafness may occur postoperatively in some cases. Current biological and technical research in experimental and clinical settings addresses these problems. In this article, the authors report in detail the developments achieved in vestibular schwannoma surgery and the great clinicians to whom these results can be credited.

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Guenther Christian Feigl, Otto Bundschuh, Alireza Gharabaghi, Sam Safavi-Abassi, Amr El Shawarby, Madjid Samii and Gerhard A. Horstmann

Object. Chordomas and chondrosarcomas of the skull base are rare locally invasive tumors associated with high recurrence rates. The aim of this study was to evaluate the concept of microsurgical tumor volume reduction followed by early gamma knife surgery (GKS).

Methods. Thirteen patients with 15 tumors were treated between October 2000 and June 2003. There were three patients (23.1%) with chordomas and 10 (76.9%) with chondrosarcomas. There were nine men and four women who ranged in age between 19 and 69 years. All patients first underwent maximal tumor resection. Within 2 to 10 months after surgery they were treated with GKS. The mean postoperative tumor volume treated with GKS was 9.7 cm3 (range 1.4–20.3 cm3). Follow-up computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging examinations with volumetric tumor analysis were performed every 6 months after GKS.

The mean treatment dose was 17 Gy and the mean isodose was 52%. The mean follow-up duration was 17 months during which there was only one tumor recurrence at the margin of the radiation field. The mean volume reduction was 35.4%.

Conclusions. Results of this treatment strategy are encouraging but the efficacy of this multimodal treatment combining surgery and early GKS requires a longer follow up.

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Guenther C. Feigl, Otto Bundschuh, Alireza Gharabaghi, Madjid Samii and Gerhard A. Horstmann

Object. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the volume-reducing effects of gamma knife surgery (GKS) of meningiomas with and without previous surgical treatment.

Methods. A group of 127 patients with a mean age of 57.1 years (range 9–81 years) with 142 meningiomas (128 World Health Organization Grade I and 14 Grade II) were included in this study. The management strategy reduces tumor volume with surgery when necessary (81 patients). Stereotactic GKS with a Gamma Knife model C was performed in all tumors of suitable size. Magnetic resonance imaging follow-up examinations with volumetric tumor analysis was performed 6 months after treatment and annually thereafter.

The mean tumor volume was 5.9 cm3 (range < 5 to > 40 cm3). The mean follow-up time after GKS was 29.3 months (range 11–61 months). The mean prescription dose was 13.8 Gy (range 10–18 Gy). A reduction in volume occurred in 117 (82.4%) of all tumors, and in 20 tumors (14.1%) growth ceased. The overall tumor control rate of 96.4%. The mean volume reduction achieved with GKS was more than 46.1%. Only five tumors (3.5%) showed a volume increase.

Conclusions. Gamma knife surgery was effective in reducing meningioma volume at short-term follow up. Further studies are needed to examine the development of these findings over a longer period.

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Steffen K. Rosahl, Alireza Gharabaghi, Peter-Michael Zink and Madjid Samii

Object. Both C-reactive protein (CRP) level and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) were measured prospectively in 51 cases in which uncomplicated cervical anterior fusion was performed. The object of the authors was to quantify the differences in the responses of these parameters recorded in the immediate postoperative period and to determine factors influencing their course.

Methods. Nineteen one-level, 23 two-level, and nine three-level procedures for disc herniation and degenerative disease of the cervical spine were performed in 22 female and 29 male patients (mean age 49.2 years).

Blood samples were obtained 1 day before as well as on 10 consecutive days and 3 months following anterior cervical fusion. Serum CRP level was measured using a fluorescence polarization immunoassay and ESR was determined from the same samples. Operative time, the number of blood transfusions, and drugs administered in the postoperative period were recorded. In addition, hemoglobin, hematocrit, red blood cell count, platelet count, white cell count, and axillary body temperature were checked daily.

Conclusions. Monitoring of CRP level is superior to that of ESR for early detection of infections after cervical spine surgery. Although CRP was not related to any of the factors that have been proposed to explain its peak value variance in previous studies, individual acute-phase protein metabolism response to tissue affection appears to be a more decisive element in this respect.