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Arnau Benet, Jordina Rincon-Torroella, Michael T. Lawton, and J. J. González Sánchez

Object

Surgical simulation using postmortem human heads is one of the most valid strategies for neurosurgical research and training. The authors customized an embalming formula that provides an optimal retraction profile and lifelike physical properties while preventing microorganism growth and brain decay for neurosurgical simulations in cadavers. They studied the properties of the customized formula and compared its use with the standard postmortem processing techniques: cryopreservation and formaldehyde-based embalming.

Methods

Eighteen specimens were prepared for neurosurgical simulation: 6 formaldehyde embalmed, 6 cryopreserved, and 6 custom embalmed. The customized formula is a mixture of ethanol 62.4%, glycerol 17%, phenol 10.2%, formaldehyde 2.3%, and water 8.1%. After a standard pterional craniotomy, retraction profiles and brain stiffness were studied using an intracranial pressure transducer and monitor. Preservation time—that is, time that tissue remained in optimal condition—between specimen groups was also compared through periodical reports during a 48-hour simulation.

Results

The mean (± standard deviation) retraction pressures were highest in the formaldehyde group and lowest in the cryopreserved group. The customized formula provided a mean retraction pressure almost 3 times lower than formaldehyde (36 ± 3 vs 103 ± 14 mm Hg, p < 0.01) and very similar to cryopreservation (24 ± 6 mm Hg, p < 0.01). For research purposes, preservation time in the cryopreserved group was limited to 4 hours and was unlimited for the customized and formaldehyde groups for the duration of the experiment.

Conclusions

The customized embalming solution described herein is optimal for allowing retraction and surgical maneuverability while preventing decay. The authors were able to significantly lower the formaldehyde content as compared with that in standard formulas. The custom embalming solution has the benefits from both cryopreservation (for example, biological brain tissue properties) and formaldehyde embalming (for example, preservation time and microorganism growth prevention) and minimizes their drawbacks, that is, rapid decay in the former and stiffness in the latter. The presented embalming formula provides an important advance for neurosurgical simulations in research and teaching.

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Marcus Czabanka, Muhammad Ali, Peter Schmiedek, Peter Vajkoczy, and Michael T. Lawton

Endovascular occlusion of hemorrhagic dissecting aneurysms of the vertebral artery (VA) is not possible when the posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) originates from the dissecting aneurysm or when the contralateral VA provides inadequate collateral blood flow to the distal basilar circulation. The authors introduce a VA-PICA bypass with radial artery interposition graft and aneurysm trapping as an alternative approach and describe 2 cases in which this bypass was used to treat hemorrhagic dissecting VA aneurysms.

The VA-PICA bypass is performed via a standard far lateral approach. An end-to-side anastomosis between the radial artery graft and the PICA at the level of the caudal loop is performed first, and an end-to-side anastomosis is performed between the V3 segment and the proximal end of the radial artery graft. A 56-year-old woman harbored a hemorrhagic dissecting VA aneurysm incorporating the origin of the PICA. Endovascular treatment failed, with aneurysm refilling on follow-up angiography. A 65-year-old man had a hemorrhagic dissecting VA aneurysm and a hypoplastic contralateral VA. Both patients were treated with the VA-PICA bypass and aneurysm trapping, with adequate filling of the PICA territory in the first patient and both the PICA territory and the basilar circulation in the second patient.

Vertebral artery–PICA bypass with radial artery interposition graft and subsequent trapping of the dissected VA segment is an alternative to occipital artery–PICA and PICA-PICA bypass for the treatment of hemorrhagic dissecting VA aneurysms that are not suitable for endovascular occlusion.

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Kamlesh S. Bhaisora, Kuntal Kanti Das, Suyash Singh, and Arun K. Srivastava

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Randall W. Porter, Paul W. Detwiler, Robert F. Spetzler, Michael T. Lawton, Jonathan J. Baskin, Patrick T. Derksen, and Joseph M. Zabramski

Object. In this study the authors review surgical experience with cavernous malformations of the brainstem (CMBs) in an attempt to define more clearly the natural history, indications, and risks of surgical management of these lesions.

Methods. The authors retrospectively reviewed the cases of 100 patients (38 males and 62 females; mean age 37 years) harboring 103 lesions at treated a single institution between 1984 and 1997. Clinical histories, radiographs, pathology records, and operative reports were evaluated. The brainstem lesions were distributed as follows: pons in 39 patients, medulla in 16, midbrain in 16, pontomesencephalic junction in 15, pontomedullary junction in 10, midbrain—hypothalamus/thalamus region in two patients, and more than two brainstem levels in five. The retrospective annual hemorrhage rate was most conservatively estimated at 5% per lesion per year. Standard skull base approaches were used to resect lesions in 86 of the 100 patients. Intraoperatively, all 86 patients were found to have a venous anomaly in association with the CMB. Follow up was available in 98% (84 of 86) of the surgical patients. Of these, 73 (87%) were the same or better after surgical intervention, eight (10%) were worse, and three (4%) died. Two surgical patients were lost to follow-up review. Incidences of permanent or severe morbidity occurred in 10 (12%) of the surgically treated patients. The average postoperative Glasgow Outcome Scale score for surgically treated patients was 4.5, with a mean follow-up period of 35 months.

Conclusions. The natural history of CMBs is worse than that of cavernous malformations in other locations. These CMBs can be resected using skull base approaches, which should be considered in patients with symptomatic hemorrhage who harbor lesions that approach the pial surface. Venous anomalies are always associated with CMBs and must be preserved.

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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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Corinna C. Zygourakis, Seungwon Yoon, Victoria Valencia, Christy Boscardin, Christopher Moriates, Ralph Gonzales, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Disposable supplies constitute a large portion of operating room (OR) costs and are often left over at the end of a surgical case. Despite financial and environmental implications of such waste, there has been little evaluation of OR supply utilization. The goal of this study was to quantify the utilization of disposable supplies and the costs associated with opened but unused items (i.e., “waste”) in neurosurgical procedures.

METHODS

Every disposable supply that was unused at the end of surgery was quantified through direct observation of 58 neurosurgical cases at the University of California, San Francisco, in August 2015. Item costs (in US dollars) were determined from the authors' supply catalog, and statistical analyses were performed.

RESULTS

Across 58 procedures (36 cranial, 22 spinal), the average cost of unused supplies was $653 (range $89-$3640, median $448, interquartile range $230–$810), or 13.1% of total surgical supply cost. Univariate analyses revealed that case type (cranial versus spinal), case category (vascular, tumor, functional, instrumented, and noninstrumented spine), and surgeon were important predictors of the percentage of unused surgical supply cost. Case length and years of surgical training did not affect the percentage of unused supply cost. Accounting for the different case distribution in the 58 selected cases, the authors estimate approximately $968 of OR waste per case, $242,968 per month, and $2.9 million per year, for their neurosurgical department.

CONCLUSIONS

This study shows a large variation and significant magnitude of OR waste in neurosurgical procedures. At the authors' institution, they recommend price transparency, education about OR waste to surgeons and nurses, preference card reviews, and clarification of supplies that should be opened versus available as needed to reduce waste.

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Colin J. Przybylowski, Benjamin K. Hendricks, Fabio A. Frisoli, Xiaochun Zhao, Claudio Cavallo, Leandro Borba Moreira, Sirin Gandhi, Nader Sanai, Kaith K. Almefty, Michael T. Lawton, and Andrew S. Little

OBJECTIVE

Recently, the prognostic value of the Simpson resection grading scale has been called into question for modern meningioma surgery. In this study, the authors analyzed the relationship between Simpson resection grade and meningioma recurrence in their institutional experience.

METHODS

This study is a retrospective review of all patients who underwent resection of a WHO grade I intracranial meningioma at the authors’ institution from 2007 to 2017. Binary logistic regression analysis was used to assess for predictors of Simpson grade IV resection and postoperative neurological morbidity. Cox multivariate analysis was used to assess for predictors of tumor recurrence. Kaplan-Meier analysis and log-rank tests were used to assess and compare recurrence-free survival (RFS) of Simpson resection grades, respectively.

RESULTS

A total of 492 patients with evaluable data were included for analysis, including 394 women (80.1%) and 98 men (19.9%) with a mean (SD) age of 58.7 (12.8) years. The tumors were most commonly located at the skull base (n = 302; 61.4%) or the convexity/parasagittal region (n = 139; 28.3%). The median (IQR) tumor volume was 6.8 (14.3) cm3. Simpson grade I, II, III, or IV resection was achieved in 105 (21.3%), 155 (31.5%), 52 (10.6%), and 180 (36.6%) patients, respectively. Sixty-three of 180 patients (35.0%) with Simpson grade IV resection were treated with adjuvant radiosurgery. In the multivariate analysis, increasing largest tumor dimension (p < 0.01) and sinus invasion (p < 0.01) predicted Simpson grade IV resection, whereas skull base location predicted neurological morbidity (p = 0.02). Tumor recurrence occurred in 63 patients (12.8%) at a median (IQR) of 36 (40.3) months from surgery. Simpson grade I resection resulted in superior RFS compared with Simpson grade II resection (p = 0.02), Simpson grade III resection (p = 0.01), and Simpson grade IV resection with adjuvant radiosurgery (p = 0.01) or without adjuvant radiosurgery (p < 0.01). In the multivariate analysis, Simpson grade I resection was independently associated with no tumor recurrence (p = 0.04). Simpson grade II and III resections resulted in superior RFS compared with Simpson grade IV resection without adjuvant radiosurgery (p < 0.01) but similar RFS compared with Simpson grade IV resection with adjuvant radiosurgery (p = 0.82). Simpson grade IV resection with adjuvant radiosurgery resulted in superior RFS compared with Simpson grade IV resection without adjuvant radiosurgery (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

The Simpson resection grading scale continues to hold substantial prognostic value in the modern neurosurgical era. When feasible, Simpson grade I resection should remain the goal of intracranial meningioma surgery. Simpson grade IV resection with adjuvant radiosurgery resulted in similar RFS compared with Simpson grade II and III resections.

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Xiaochun Zhao, Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Mohamed A. Labib, Sirin Gandhi, Evgenii Belykh, Komal Naeem, Mark C. Preul, Peter Nakaji, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Aneurysms that arise on the medial surface of the paraclinoid segment of the internal carotid artery (ICA) are surgically challenging. The contralateral interoptic trajectory, which uses the space between the optic nerves, can partially expose the medial surface of the paraclinoid ICA. In this study, the authors quantitatively measure the area of the medial ICA accessible through the interoptic triangle and propose a potential patient-selection algorithm that is based on preoperative measurements on angiographic imaging.

METHODS

The contralateral interoptic trajectory was studied on 10 sides of 5 cadaveric heads, through which the medial paraclinoid ICA was identified. The falciform ligament medial to the contralateral optic canal was incised, the contralateral optic nerve was gently elevated, and the medial surface of the paraclinoid ICA was inspected via different viewing angles to obtain maximal exposure. The accessible area on the carotid artery was outlined. The distance from the distal dural ring (DDR) to the proximal and distal borders of this accessible area was measured. The superior and inferior borders were measured using the clockface method relative to a vertical line on the coronal plane. To validate these parameters, preoperative measurements and intraoperative findings were reviewed in 8 clinical cases.

RESULTS

In the sagittal plane, the mean (SD) distances from the DDR to the proximal and distal ends of the accessible area on the paraclinoid ICA were 2.5 (1.52) mm and 8.4 (2.32) mm, respectively. In the coronal plane, the mean (SD) angles of the superior and inferior ends of the accessible area relative to a vertical line were 21.7° (14.84°) and 130.9° (12.75°), respectively. Six (75%) of 8 clinical cases were consistent with the proposed patient-selection algorithm.

CONCLUSIONS

The contralateral interoptic approach is a feasible route to access aneurysms that arise from the medial paraclinoid ICA. An aneurysm can be safely clipped via the contralateral interoptic trajectory if 1) both proximal and distal borders of the aneurysm neck are 2.5–8.4 mm distal to the DDR, and 2) at least one border of the aneurysm neck on the coronal clockface is 21.7°–130.9° medial to the vertical line.

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Colin J. Przybylowski, Benjamin K. Hendricks, Fabio A. Frisoli, Xiaochun Zhao, Claudio Cavallo, Leandro Borba Moreira, Sirin Gandhi, Nader Sanai, Kaith K. Almefty, Michael T. Lawton, and Andrew S. Little

OBJECTIVE

Recently, the prognostic value of the Simpson resection grading scale has been called into question for modern meningioma surgery. In this study, the authors analyzed the relationship between Simpson resection grade and meningioma recurrence in their institutional experience.

METHODS

This study is a retrospective review of all patients who underwent resection of a WHO grade I intracranial meningioma at the authors’ institution from 2007 to 2017. Binary logistic regression analysis was used to assess for predictors of Simpson grade IV resection and postoperative neurological morbidity. Cox multivariate analysis was used to assess for predictors of tumor recurrence. Kaplan-Meier analysis and log-rank tests were used to assess and compare recurrence-free survival (RFS) of Simpson resection grades, respectively.

RESULTS

A total of 492 patients with evaluable data were included for analysis, including 394 women (80.1%) and 98 men (19.9%) with a mean (SD) age of 58.7 (12.8) years. The tumors were most commonly located at the skull base (n = 302; 61.4%) or the convexity/parasagittal region (n = 139; 28.3%). The median (IQR) tumor volume was 6.8 (14.3) cm3. Simpson grade I, II, III, or IV resection was achieved in 105 (21.3%), 155 (31.5%), 52 (10.6%), and 180 (36.6%) patients, respectively. Sixty-three of 180 patients (35.0%) with Simpson grade IV resection were treated with adjuvant radiosurgery. In the multivariate analysis, increasing largest tumor dimension (p < 0.01) and sinus invasion (p < 0.01) predicted Simpson grade IV resection, whereas skull base location predicted neurological morbidity (p = 0.02). Tumor recurrence occurred in 63 patients (12.8%) at a median (IQR) of 36 (40.3) months from surgery. Simpson grade I resection resulted in superior RFS compared with Simpson grade II resection (p = 0.02), Simpson grade III resection (p = 0.01), and Simpson grade IV resection with adjuvant radiosurgery (p = 0.01) or without adjuvant radiosurgery (p < 0.01). In the multivariate analysis, Simpson grade I resection was independently associated with no tumor recurrence (p = 0.04). Simpson grade II and III resections resulted in superior RFS compared with Simpson grade IV resection without adjuvant radiosurgery (p < 0.01) but similar RFS compared with Simpson grade IV resection with adjuvant radiosurgery (p = 0.82). Simpson grade IV resection with adjuvant radiosurgery resulted in superior RFS compared with Simpson grade IV resection without adjuvant radiosurgery (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

The Simpson resection grading scale continues to hold substantial prognostic value in the modern neurosurgical era. When feasible, Simpson grade I resection should remain the goal of intracranial meningioma surgery. Simpson grade IV resection with adjuvant radiosurgery resulted in similar RFS compared with Simpson grade II and III resections.

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Michael T. Lawton, Randall W. Porter, Joseph E. Heiserman, Ronald Jacobowitz, Volker K. H. Sonntag, and Curtis A. Dickman

✓ Thirty patients were treated surgically for spinal epidural hematoma (SEH). Twelve of these cases resulted from spinal surgery, seven from epidural catheters, four from vascular lesions, three from anticoagulation medications, two from trauma, and two from spontaneous causes. Pain was the predominant initial symptom, and all patients developed neurological deficits. Eight patients had complete motor and sensory loss (Frankel Grade A); six had complete motor loss but some sensation preserved (Frankel Grade B); and 16 had incomplete loss of motor function (10 patients Frankel Grade C and six patients Frankel Grade D). The average interval from onset of initial symptom to maximum neurological deficit was 13 hours, and the average interval from onset of symptom to surgery was 23 hours. Surgical evacuation of the hematoma was performed in all patients; 26 of these improved; four remained unchanged, and no patients worsened (mean follow up 11 months). Complete recovery (Frankel Grade E) was observed in 43% of the patients and functional recovery (Frankel Grades D or E) was observed in 87%. One postoperative death occurred from a pulmonary embolus (surgical mortality 3%). Preoperative neurological status correlated with outcome; 83% of Frankel Grade D patients recovered completely compared to 25% of Frankel Grade A patients. The rapidity of surgical intervention also correlated with outcome; greater neurological recovery occurred as the interval from symptom onset to surgery decreased. Patients taken to surgery within 12 hours had better neurological outcomes than patients with identical preoperative Frankel grades whose surgery was delayed beyond 12 hours. This large series of SEH demonstrates that rapid diagnosis and emergency surgical treatment maximize neurological recovery. However, patients with complete neurological lesions or long-standing compression can improve substantially with surgery.