Rhoton

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Robert C. Rennert, Martin P. Powers, Jeffrey A. Steinberg, Takanori Fukushima, John D. Day, Alexander A. Khalessi and Michael L. Levy

OBJECTIVE

The far-lateral and extreme-lateral infrajugular transcondylar–transtubercular exposure (ELITE) and extreme-lateral transcondylar transodontoid (ELTO) approaches provide access to lesions of the foramen magnum, inferolateral to mid-clivus, and ventral pons and medulla. A subset of pathologies in this region require manipulation of the vertebral artery (VA)–dural interface. Although a cuff of dura is commonly left on the VA to avoid vessel injury during these approaches, there are varying descriptions of the degree of VA-dural separation that is safely achievable. In this paper the authors provide a detailed histological analysis of the VA-dural junction to guide microsurgical technique for posterolateral skull base approaches.

METHODS

An ELITE approach was performed on 6 preserved adult cadaveric specimens. The VA-dural entry site was resected, processed for histological analysis, and qualitatively assessed by a neuropathologist.

RESULTS

Histological analysis demonstrated a clear delineation between the intima and media of the VA in all specimens. No clear plane was identified between the connective tissue of the dura and the connective tissue of the VA adventitia.

CONCLUSIONS

The VA forms a contiguous plane with the connective tissue of the dura at its dural entry site. When performing posterolateral skull base approaches requiring manipulation of the VA-dural interface, maintenance of a dural cuff on the VA is critical to minimize the risk of vascular injury.

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Alan Bush, Maximiliano Nuñez, Alyssa K. Brisbin, Robert M. Friedlander and Ezequiel Goldschmidt

OBJECTIVE

Cortical folding places regions that are separated by a large distance along the cortical surface in close proximity. This process is not homogeneous; regions such as the insular opercula have a much higher cortical surface distance (CSD) to euclidean distance (ED) than others. Here the authors explore the hypothesis that in the folded brain the CSD, and not the ED, determines regions of common irrigation, because this measure corresponds more closely with the distance along the prefolded brain, where the subarachnoid arterial vascular network starts forming.

METHODS

The authors defined a convergence index that compared the ED to the CSD and applied it to the cortical surface reconstruction of an average brain. They then compared cortical convergence to the irrigation patterns of major sulci and fissures of the brain, by assessing whether these structures were crossed or not crossed by arterial vessels in 20 fixed hemispheres.

RESULTS

The regions of highest convergence (top 1%) were clustered around the sylvian fissure, which is the only brain depression with high convergence values along its edges. Arterial crossings were commonly observed in every major sulcus of the brain, with the exception of the sylvian fissure, constituting a highly significant difference (p < 10−4).

CONCLUSIONS

Arteries do not cross regions of high convergence. In the adult brain the CSD, rather than the ED, predicts the regional irrigation pattern. The distant origin of the frontal and temporal lobes creates a region of high cortical convergence, which explains why arteries do not cross the sylvian fissure.

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Spyridon Komaitis, Aristotelis V. Kalyvas, Georgios P. Skandalakis, Evangelos Drosos, Evgenia Lani, Evangelia Liouta, Faidon Liakos, Theodosis Kalamatianos, Maria Piagkou, John A. Emelifeonwu, George Stranjalis and Christos Koutsarnakis

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to investigate the morphology, connectivity, and correlative anatomy of the longitudinal group of fibers residing in the frontal area, which resemble the anterior extension of the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF) and were previously described as the frontal longitudinal system (FLS).

METHODS

Fifteen normal adult formalin-fixed cerebral hemispheres collected from cadavers were studied using the Klingler microdissection technique. Lateral to medial dissections were performed in a stepwise fashion starting from the frontal area and extending to the temporoparietal regions.

RESULTS

The FLS was consistently identified as a fiber pathway residing just under the superficial U-fibers of the middle frontal gyrus or middle frontal sulcus (when present) and extending as far as the frontal pole. The authors were able to record two different configurations: one consisting of two distinct, parallel, longitudinal fiber chains (13% of cases), and the other consisting of a single stem of fibers (87% of cases). The fiber chains’ cortical terminations in the frontal and prefrontal area were also traced. More specifically, the FLS was always recorded to terminate in Brodmann areas 6, 46, 45, and 10 (premotor cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, pars triangularis, and frontal pole, respectively), whereas terminations in Brodmann areas 4 (primary motor cortex), 47 (pars orbitalis), and 9 were also encountered in some specimens. In relation to the SLF system, the FLS represented its anterior continuation in the majority of the hemispheres, whereas in a few cases it was recorded as a completely distinct tract. Interestingly, the FLS comprised shorter fibers that were recorded to interconnect exclusively frontal areas, thus exhibiting different fiber architecture when compared to the long fibers forming the SLF.

CONCLUSIONS

The current study provides consistent, focused, and robust evidence on the morphology, architecture, and correlative anatomy of the FLS. This fiber system participates in the axonal connectivity of the prefrontal-premotor cortices and allegedly subserves cognitive-motor functions. Based in the SLF hypersegmentation concept that has been advocated by previous authors, the FLS should be approached as a distinct frontal segment within the superior longitudinal system.

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Laszlo Barany, Cintia Meszaros, Oliver Ganslandt, Michael Buchfelder and Peter Kurucz

OBJECTIVE

The septum pellucidum is a bilateral thin membranous structure representing the border between the frontal horns of the lateral ventricles. Its most examined components are the septal veins due to their surgical importance during endoscopic septum pellucidotomy (ESP), which is a well-accepted method for surgical treatment of unilateral hydrocephalus. It is widely accepted that the septum pellucidum contains nerve fibers as well, but interestingly, no anatomical study has been addressed to its neural components before. The aim of the present study was to identify these elements as well as their relations to the septal veins and to define major landmarks within the ventricular system for neurosurgical use.

METHODS

Nine formalin-fixed human cadaveric brains (18 septa pellucida) were involved in this study. A central block containing both septa pellucida was removed and frozen at −30°C for 2 weeks in 7 cases. The fibers of the septum pellucidum and the adjacent areas including the venous elements were dissected under magnification by using homemade wooden spatulas and microsurgical instruments. In 2 cases a histological technique was used to validate the findings of the dissections. The blocks were sliced, embedded in paraffin, cut in 7-µm-thick slices, and then stained as follows: 1) with H & E, 2) with Luxol fast blue combined with cresyl violet, and 3) with Luxol fast blue combined with Sirius red.

RESULTS

The septum pellucidum and the subjacent septum verum form the medial wall of the frontal horn of the lateral ventricle. Both structures contain nerve fibers that were organized in 3 groups: 1) the precommissural fibers of the fornix; 2) the inferior fascicle; and 3) the superior fascicle of the septum pellucidum. The area directly rostral to the postcommissural column of the fornix consisted of macroscopically identifiable gray matter corresponding to the septal nuclei. The histological examinations validated the findings of the authors’ fiber dissections.

CONCLUSIONS

The nerve elements of the septum pellucidum as well as the subjacent septum verum were identified with fiber dissection and verified with histology for the first time. The septal nuclei located just anterior to the fornix and the precommissural fibers of the fornix should be preserved during ESP. Considering the venous anatomy as well as the neural architecture of the septum pellucidum, the fenestration should ideally be placed above the superior edge of the fornix and preferably dorsal to the interventricular foramen.

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Qing Sun, Xiaochun Zhao, Sirin Gandhi, Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Evgenii Belykh, Daniel Valli, Claudio Cavallo, Leandro Borba Moreira, Peter Nakaji, Michael T. Lawton and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

The cisternal pulvinar is a challenging location for neurosurgery. Four approaches for reaching the pulvinar without cortical transgression are the ipsilateral supracerebellar infratentorial (iSCIT), contralateral supracerebellar infratentorial (cSCIT), ipsilateral occipital transtentorial (iOCTT), and contralateral occipital transtentorial/falcine (cOCTF) approaches. This study quantitatively compared these approaches in terms of surgical exposure and maneuverability.

METHODS

Each of the 4 approaches was performed in 4 cadaveric heads (8 specimens in total). A 6-sided anatomical polygonal region was configured over the cisternal pulvinar, defined by 6 reachable anatomical points in different vectors. Multiple polygons were subsequently formed to calculate the areas of exposure. The surgical freedom of each approach was calculated as the maximum allowable working area at the proximal end of a probe, with the distal end fixed at the posterior pole of the pulvinar. Areas of exposure, surgical freedom, and the working distance (surgical depth) of all approaches were compared.

RESULTS

No significant difference was found among the 4 different approaches with regard to the surgical depth, surgical freedom, or medial exposure area of the pulvinar. In the pairwise comparison, the cSCIT approach provided a significantly larger lateral exposure (39 ± 9.8 mm2) than iSCIT (19 ± 10.3 mm2, p < 0.01), iOCTT (19 ± 8.2 mm2, p < 0.01), and cOCTF (28 ± 7.3 mm2, p = 0.02) approaches. The total exposure area with a cSCIT approach (75 ± 23.1 mm2) was significantly larger than with iOCTT (43 ± 16.4 mm2, p < 0.01) and iSCIT (40 ± 20.2 mm2, p = 0.01) approaches (pairwise, p ≤ 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

The cSCIT approach is preferable among the 4 compared approaches, demonstrating better exposure to the cisternal pulvinar than ipsilateral approaches and a larger lateral exposure than the cOCTF approach. Both contralateral approaches described (cSCIT and cOCTF) provided enhanced lateral exposure to the pulvinar, while the cOCTF provided a larger exposure to the lateral portion of the pulvinar than the iOCTT. Medial exposure and maneuverability did not differ among the approaches. A short tentorium may negatively impact an ipsilateral approach because the cingulate isthmus and parahippocampal gyrus tend to protrude, in which case they can obstruct access to the cisternal pulvinar ipsilaterally.

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Daniel Dutra Cavalcanti, Bárbara Albuquerque Morais, Eberval Gadelha Figueiredo, Robert F. Spetzler and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

The brainstem is a compact, delicate structure. The surgeon must have good anatomical knowledge of the safe entry points to safely resect intrinsic lesions. Lesions located at the lateral midbrain surface are better approached through the lateral mesencephalic sulcus (LMS). The goal of this study was to compare the surgical exposure to the LMS provided by the subtemporal (ST) approach and the paramedian and extreme-lateral variants of the supracerebellar infratentorial (SCIT) approach.

METHODS

These 3 approaches were used in 10 cadaveric heads. The authors performed measurements of predetermined points by using a neuronavigation system. Areas of microsurgical exposure and angles of the approaches were determined. Statistical analysis was performed to identify significant differences in the respective exposures.

RESULTS

The surgical exposure was similar for the different approaches—369.8 ± 70.1 mm2 for the ST; 341.2 ± 71.2 mm2 for the SCIT paramedian variant; and 312.0 ± 79.3 mm2 for the SCIT extreme-lateral variant (p = 0.13). However, the vertical angular exposure was 16.3° ± 3.6° for the ST, 19.4° ± 3.4° for the SCIT paramedian variant, and 25.1° ± 3.3° for the SCIT extreme-lateral variant craniotomy (p < 0.001). The horizontal angular exposure was 45.2° ± 6.3° for the ST, 35.6° ± 2.9° for the SCIT paramedian variant, and 45.5° ± 6.6° for the SCIT extreme-lateral variant opening, presenting no difference between the ST and extreme-lateral variant (p = 0.92), but both were superior to the paramedian variant (p < 0.001). Data are expressed as the mean ± SD.

CONCLUSIONS

The extreme-lateral SCIT approach had the smaller area of surgical exposure; however, these differences were not statistically significant. The extreme-lateral SCIT approach presented a wider vertical and horizontal angle to the LMS compared to the other craniotomies. Also, it provides a 90° trajectory to the sulcus that facilitates the intraoperative microsurgical technique.

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Spyridon Komaitis, Georgios P. Skandalakis, Aristotelis V. Kalyvas, Evangelos Drosos, Evgenia Lani, John Emelifeonwu, Faidon Liakos, Maria Piagkou, Theodosis Kalamatianos, George Stranjalis and Christos Koutsarnakis

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to investigate the anatomical consistency, morphology, axonal connectivity, and correlative topography of the dorsal component of the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF-I) since the current literature is limited and ambiguous.

METHODS

Fifteen normal, adult, formalin-fixed cerebral hemispheres were studied through a medial to lateral fiber microdissection technique. In 5 specimens, the authors performed stepwise focused dissections of the lateral cerebral aspect to delineate the correlative anatomy between the SLF-I and the other two SLF subcomponents, namely the SLF-II and SLF-III.

RESULTS

The SLF-I was readily identified as a distinct fiber tract running within the cingulate or paracingulate gyrus and connecting the anterior cingulate cortex, the medial aspect of the superior frontal gyrus, the pre–supplementary motor area (pre-SMA), the SMA proper, the paracentral lobule, and the precuneus. With regard to the morphology of the SLF-I, two discrete segments were consistently recorded: an anterior and a posterior segment. A clear cleavage plane could be developed between the SLF-I and the cingulum, thus proving their structural integrity. Interestingly, no anatomical connection was revealed between the SLF-I and the SLF-II/SLF-III complex.

CONCLUSIONS

Study results provide novel and robust anatomical evidence on the topography, morphology, and subcortical architecture of the SLF-I. This fiber tract was consistently recorded as a distinct anatomical entity of the medial cerebral aspect, participating in the axonal connectivity of high-order paralimbic areas.

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Pieter Nachtergaele, Ahmed Radwan, Stijn Swinnen, Thomas Decramer, Mats Uytterhoeven, Stefan Sunaert, Johannes van Loon and Tom Theys

OBJECTIVE

Connections between the insular cortex and the amygdaloid complex have been demonstrated using various techniques. Although functionally well connected, the precise anatomical substrate through which the amygdaloid complex and the insula are wired remains unknown. In 1960, Klingler briefly described the “fasciculus amygdaloinsularis,” a white matter tract connecting the posterior insula with the amygdala. The existence of such a fasciculus seems likely but has not been firmly established, and the reported literature does not include a thorough description and documentation of its anatomy. In this fiber dissection study the authors sought to elucidate the pathway connecting the insular cortex and the mesial temporal lobe.

METHODS

Fourteen brain specimens obtained at routine autopsy were dissected according to Klingler’s fiber dissection technique. After fixation and freezing, anatomical dissections were performed in a stepwise progressive fashion.

RESULTS

The insula is connected with the opercula of the frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes through the extreme capsule, which represents a network of short association fibers. At the limen insulae, white matter fibers from the extreme capsule converge and loop around the uncinate fasciculus toward the temporal pole and the mesial temporal lobe, including the amygdaloid complex.

CONCLUSIONS

The insula and the mesial temporal lobe are directly connected through white matter fibers in the extreme capsule, resulting in the appearance of a single amygdaloinsular fasciculus. This apparent fasciculus is part of the broader network of short association fibers of the extreme capsule, which connects the entire insular cortex with the temporal pole and the amygdaloid complex. The authors propose the term “temporoinsular projection system” (TIPS) for this complex.

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Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Leandro Borba Moreira, Michael T. Lawton, Jennifer M. Eschbacher, Evgenii G. Belykh, Michelle M. Felicella and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

In the current neurosurgical and anatomical literature, the intracanalicular segment of the ophthalmic artery (OphA) is usually described to be within the optic nerve dural sheath (ONDS), implying direct contact between the nerve and the artery inside the optic canal. In the present study, the authors sought to clarify the exact relationship between the OphA and ONDS.

METHODS

Ten cadaveric heads were subjected to endoscopic endonasal and transcranial exposures of the OphA in the optic canal (5 for each approach). The relationship between the OphA and ONDS was assessed. Histological examination of one specimen of the optic nerve and the accompanying OphA was also performed to confirm the relationship with the ONDS.

RESULTS

In all specimens, the OphA coursed between the two layers of the dura (endosteal and meningeal) and was not in direct contact with the optic nerve, except for the first few millimeters of the proximal optic canal before it pierced the ONDS. Upon reaching the orbit, the two layers of the dura separated and allowed the OphA to literally float within the orbital fat. The meningeal dura continued as the ONDS, whereas the endosteal dura became the periorbita.

CONCLUSIONS

This study clarifies the interdural course of the OphA within the optic canal. This anatomical nuance has important neurosurgical implications regarding safe exposure and manipulation of the OphA.

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Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Leandro Borba Moreira, Andrew S. Little, Michael T. Lawton and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs) are increasingly being incorporated into the neurosurgeon’s armamentarium for treatment of various pathologies, including paraclinoid aneurysms. However, few anatomical assessments have been performed on the use of EEA for this purpose. The aim of the present study was to provide a comprehensive anatomical assessment of the EEA for the treatment of paraclinoid aneurysms.

METHODS

Five cadaveric heads underwent an endonasal transplanum-transtuberculum approach to expose the paraclinoid area. The feasibility of obtaining proximal and distal internal carotid artery (ICA) control as well as the topographic location of the origin of the ophthalmic artery (OphA) relative to dural landmarks were assessed. Limitations of the EEA in exposing the supraclinoid ICA were also recorded to identify favorable paraclinoid ICA aneurysm projections for EEA.

RESULTS

The extracavernous paraclival and clinoidal ICAs were favorable segments for establishing proximal control. Clipping the extracavernous ICA risked injury to the trigeminal and abducens nerves, whereas clipping the clinoidal segment put the oculomotor nerve at risk. The OphA origin was found within 4 mm of the medial opticocarotid point on a line connecting the midtubercular recess point to the medial vertex of the lateral opticocarotid recess. An average 7.2-mm length of the supraclinoid ICA could be safely clipped for distal control. Assessments showed that small superiorly or medially projecting aneurysms were favorable candidates for clipping via EEA.

CONCLUSIONS

When used for paraclinoid aneurysms, the EEA carries certain risks to adjacent neurovascular structures during proximal control, dural opening, and distal control. While some authors have promoted this approach as feasible, this work demonstrates that it has significant limitations and may only be appropriate in highly selected cases that are not amenable to coiling or clipping. Further clinical experience with this approach helps to delineate its risks and benefits.