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Surgical approaches for the lateral mesencephalic sulcus

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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Cerebral cavernous malformations: from genes to proteins to disease

Clinical article

Daniel D. Cavalcanti, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Justin Eales, Robert F. Spetzler, and Mark C. Preul

Over the past half century molecular biology has led to great advances in our understanding of angio- and vasculogenesis and in the treatment of malformations resulting from these processes gone awry. Given their sporadic and familial distribution, their developmental and pathological link to capillary telangiectasias, and their observed chromosomal abnormalities, cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) are regarded as akin to cancerous growths. Although the exact pathological mechanisms involved in the formation of CCMs are still not well understood, the identification of 3 genetic loci has begun to shed light on key developmental pathways involved in CCM pathogenesis. Cavernous malformations can occur sporadically or in an autosomal dominant fashion. Familial forms of CCMs have been attributed to mutations at 3 different loci implicated in regulating important processes such as proliferation and differentiation of angiogenic precursors and members of the apoptotic machinery. These processes are important for the generation, maintenance, and pruning of every vessel in the body. In this review the authors highlight the latest discoveries pertaining to the molecular genetics of CCMs, highlighting potential new therapeutic targets for the treatment of these lesions.

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From Krönlein, through madness, to a useful modern surgery: the journey of the transorbital corridor to enter the neurosurgical armamentarium

Lena Mary Houlihan, Evgenii Belykh, Xiaochun Zhao, Michael G. J. O’Sullivan, and Mark C. Preul

Transorbital surgery has gained recent notoriety because of its incorporation into endoscopic skull base surgery. The use of this surgical corridor has been pervasive throughout the 20th century. It has been utilized by multiple disciplines for both clinical and experimental purposes, although its historical origin is medically and ethically controversial. Hermann Knapp first introduced the orbital surgical technique in 1874, and Rudolf Krönlein introduced his procedure in 1889. Rivalry between Walter Dandy in neurosurgery and Raynold Berke in ophthalmology further influenced methods of tackling intracranial and intraorbital pathologies. In 1946, Walter Freeman revolutionized psychosurgery by completing seemingly successful transorbital leucotomies and promoting their minimally invasive and benign surgical characteristics. However, as Freeman’s legacy came into disrepute, so did the transorbital brain access corridor, again resulting in its stunted evolution. Microsurgery and endoscopy further influenced the use, or lack thereof, of the transorbital corridor in neurosurgical approaches. Historical analysis of present goals in modern skull base surgery echoes the principles established through an approach described almost 150 years ago: minimal invasion, minimal morbidity, and priority of patient satisfaction. The progression of the transorbital approach not only reflects psychosocial influences on medical therapy, as well as the competition of surgical pioneers for supremacy, but also describes the diversification of skull base techniques, the impact of microsurgical mastery on circumferential neurosurgical corridors, the influence of technology on modernizing skull base surgery, and the advancing trend of multidisciplinary surgical excellence.

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Infragalenic triangle as a gateway to dorsal midbrain and posteromedial thalamic lesions: descriptive and quantitative analysis of microsurgical anatomy

Sahin Hanalioglu, Muhammet Enes Gurses, Giancarlo Mignucci-Jiménez, Nicolas I. González-Romo, Ethan A. Winkler, Mark C. Preul, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Anatomical triangles provide neurosurgeons with the specificity required to access deep targets, supplementing more general instructions, such as craniotomy and approach. The infragalenic triangle (IGT), bordered by the basal vein of Rosenthal (BVR), precentral cerebellar vein (PCV), and the quadrangular lobule of the cerebellum, is one of a system of anatomical triangles recently introduced to guide dissection to brainstem cavernous malformations and has not been described in detail. This study aimed to quantitatively analyze the anatomical parameters of the IGT and present key nuances for its microsurgical use.

METHODS

A midline supracerebellar infratentorial (SCIT) approach through a torcular craniotomy was performed on 5 cadaveric heads, and the IGT was identified in each specimen bilaterally. Anatomical measurements were obtained with point coordinates collected using neuronavigation. Three cadaveric brains were used to illustrate relevant brainstem anatomy, and 3D virtual modeling was used to simulate various perspectives of the IGT through different approach angles. In addition, 2 illustrative surgical cases are presented.

RESULTS

The longest edge of the IGT was the lateral edge formed by the BVR (mean ± SD length 19.1 ± 2.3 mm), and the shortest edge was the medial edge formed by the PCV (13.9 ± 3.6 mm). The mean surface area of the IGT was 110 ± 34.2 mm2 in the standard exposure. Full expansion of all 3 edges (arachnoid dissection, mobilization, and retraction) resulted in a mean area of 226.0 ± 48.8 mm2 and a 2.5-times increase in surface area exposure of deep structures (e.g., brainstem and thalamus). Thus, almost the entire tectal plate and its relevant safe entry zones can be exposed through an expanded unilateral IGT except for the contralateral inferior colliculus, access to which is usually hindered by PCV tributaries. Exposure of bilateral IGTs may be required to resect larger midline lesions to increase surgical maneuverability or to access the contralateral pulvinar.

CONCLUSIONS

The IGT provides a safe access route to the dorsal midbrain and reliable intraoperative guidance in the deep and complex anatomy of the posterior tentorial incisura. Its potential for expansion makes it a versatile anatomical corridor not only for intrinsic brainstem lesions but also for tumors and vascular malformations of the pineal region, dorsal midbrain, and posteromedial thalamus.

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Two bullets to the head and an early winter: fate permits Kutuzov to defeat Napoleon at Moscow

Sergiy V. Kushchayev, Evgenii Belykh, Yakiv Fishchenko, Aliaksei Salei, Oleg M. Teytelboym, Leonid Shabaturov, Mark Cruse, and Mark C. Preul

General Mikhail Kutuzov (circa 1745–1813) brilliantly repelled Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. Honored as a national hero and a savior of Russia, Kutuzov has a unique medical story. He was shot in the head twice while fighting the Turks (1774 and 1788) and survived the serious injuries seemingly against all odds. The first bullet “ran through the head from one temple to the other behind both eyes.” The second bullet entered the cheek, destroyed upper teeth, traveled through the head, and exited the occiput. Massot, a French surgeon with the Russian army, wrote after treating Kutuzov’s seemingly two mortal wounds: “It must be believed that fate appoints Kutuzov to something great, because he was still alive after two injuries, a death sentence by all the rules of medical science.” Aided by Massot’s expert surgical technique, Kutuzov lived to become intimately engaged in events that altered world history. His health did, however, suffer significant effects due to the bullet wounds. In 1812, as Napoleon’s Grande Armée approached, Kutuzov realized he could not confront Napoleon and he strategically retreated from Moscow, submitting the French to the harsh winter and Russian cavalry. Napoleon’s devastated army retreated to Paris, and Kutuzov became the personification of Russian spirit and character. Kutuzov’s survival of two nearly mortal head wounds created the legends, additional mystery, and drama surrounding him, not the least astonishing of which was the skilled neurosurgical care that probably saved his life.

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Interactive stereoscopic virtual reality: a new tool for neurosurgical education

Technical note

Jeffrey S. Henn, G. Michael Lemole Jr., Mauro A. T. Ferreira, L. Fernando Gonzalez, Mark Schornak, Mark C. Preul, and Robert F. Spetzler

✓ The goal of this study was to develop a new method for neurosurgical education based on interactive stereoscopic virtual reality (ISVR). Interactive stereoscopic virtual reality can be used to recreate the three-dimensional (3D) experience of neurosurgical approaches much more realistically than standard educational methods. The demonstration of complex 3D relationships is unrivaled and easily combined with interactive learning and multimedia capabilities.

Interactive stereoscopic virtual reality permits the accurate recreation of neurosurgical approaches through integration of several forms of stereoscopic multimedia (video, interactive anatomy, and computer-rendered animations). The content explored using ISVR is obtained through a combination of approach-based cadaver dissections, live surgical images and videos, and computer-rendered animations. These media are combined through an interactive software interface to demonstrate key aspects of a neurosurgical approach (for example, patient positioning, draping, incision, individual surgical steps, alternative steps, relevant anatomy). The ISVR platform is designed for use on a desktop personal computer with newly developed, inexpensive, platform-independent shutter glasses.

Interactive stereoscopic virtual reality has been used to capture the anatomy and methods of several neurosurgical approaches. In this paper the authors report their experience with ISVR and describe its potential advantages. The success of a neurosurgical approach is contingent on the mastery of complex, 3D anatomy. A new technology for neurosurgical education, ISVR can improve understanding and speed the learning process. It is an effective tool for neurosurgical education, bridging the substantial gap between textbooks and intraoperative training.

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The history of neurosurgical procedures for moyamoya disease

Cassius V. C. Reis, Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Joseph M. Zabramski, Sebastião N. S. Gusmão, Robert F. Spetzler, and Mark C. Preul

✓ Almost 50 years of research on moyamoya disease (1957–2006) has led to the development of a variety of surgical and medical options for its management in affected patients. Some of these options have been abandoned, others have served as the basis for the development of better procedures, and many are still in use today. Investigators studying moyamoya disease during this period have concluded that the best treatment is planned after studying each patient's presenting symptoms and angiographic pattern.

The surgical procedures proposed for the treatment of moyamoya disease can be classified into three categories: direct arterial bypasses, indirect arterial bypasses, and other methods. Direct bypass methods that have been proposed are vein grafts and extracranial–intracranial anastomosis (superficial temporal artery–middle cerebral artery [STA–MCA] anastomosis and occipital artery–MCA anastomosis). Indirect techniques that have been proposed are the following: 1) encephaloduroarteriosynangiosis; 2) encephalomyosynangiosis; 3) encephalomyoarteriosynangiosis; 4) multiple cranial bur holes; and 5) transplantation of omentum. Other options such as cervical carotid sympathectomy and superior cervical ganglionectomy have also been proposed. In this paper the authors describe the history of the development of surgical techniques for treating moyamoya disease.

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Stem cell biology and its therapeutic applications in the setting of spinal cord injury

Nicholas C. Bambakidis, John Butler, Eric M. Horn, Xukui Wang, Mark C. Preul, Nicholas Theodore, Robert F. Spetzler, and Volker K. H. Sonntag

✓ The development of an acute traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) inevitably leads to a complex cascade of ischemia and inflammation that results in significant scar tissue formation. The development of such scar tissue provides a severe impediment to neural regeneration and healing with restoration of function. A multimodal approach to treatment is required because SCIs occur with differing levels of severity and over different lengths of time. To achieve significant breakthroughs in outcomes, such approaches must combine both neuroprotective and neuroregenerative treatments. Novel techniques modulating endogenous stem cells demonstrate great promise in promoting neuroregeneration and restoring function.

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The diploic venous system: surgical anatomy and neurosurgical implications

Ulises García-González, Daniel D. Cavalcanti, Abhishek Agrawal, L. Fernando Gonzalez, Robert C. Wallace, Robert F. Spetzler, and Mark C. Preul

Object

There are few systematic investigations of the dissected surgical anatomy of the diploic venous system (DVS) in the neuroanatomical literature. The authors describe the DVS relative to different common neurosurgical approaches. Knowledge of this system can help avoid potential sources of unacceptable bleeding and may impact healing of the cranium.

Methods

Using a high-speed drill with a 2-mm bit, the authors removed the outer layer of the compact bone in the skull to expose the DVS in 12 formalin-fixed cadaver heads. Pterional, supraorbital, and modified orbitozygomatic craniotomies were performed to delineate the relationship of the DVS.

Results

The draining point of the frontal diploic vein (FDV) was located near the supraorbital notch. The draining point of the anterior temporal diploic vein (ATDV) was located in all pterional areas; the draining point of the posterior temporal diploic vein (PTDV) was located in all asterional areas. The PTDV was the dominant diploic vessel in all sides. The FDV and ATDV could be damaged during supraorbital, modified orbitozygomatic, and pterional craniotomies. The anterior DVS connected with the sphenoparietal and superior sagittal sinus (SSS). The posterior DVS connected with the transverse and sigmoid sinuses and was the dominant diploic vessel in all 24 sides. Of all the major diploic vessels, the location and pattern of distribution of the FDV were the most constant. The parietal bone contained the most diploic vessels. No diploic veins were found in the area delimited by the temporal squama.

Conclusions

The pterional, orbitozygomatic, and supraorbital approaches place the FDV and ATDV at risk. The major anterior diploic system connects the SSS with the sphenoparietal sinus. The posterior diploic system connects the SSS with the transverse and sigmoid sinuses.

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Using ex vivo proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy to reveal associations between biochemical and biological features of meningiomas

Wolfgang K. Pfisterer, Ronald A. Nieman, Adrienne C. Scheck, Stephen W. Coons, Robert F. Spetzler, and Mark C. Preul

Object

The goal in this study was to determine if proton (1H) MR spectroscopy can differentiate meningioma grade and is associated with interpretations of biological behavior; the study was performed using ex vivo high-resolution spectra indicating metabolic characteristics.

Methods

Sixty-eight resected tissue samples of meningiomas were examined using ex vivo 1H MR spectroscopy. Of these meningiomas, 46 were WHO Grade I, 14 were WHO Grade II, and 8 were WHO Grade III. Fifty-nine were primary meningiomas and 9 were recurrences. Invasion of adjacent tissue (dura mater, bone, venous sinus, brain) was found in 32 cases. Thirty-nine meningiomas did not rapidly recur (as defined by expansion on MR imaging within a 5-year follow-up period), whereas rapid recurrence was confirmed in 24 meningiomas, and follow-up status was unknown in 5 cases.

Results

The absolute concentrations of total alanine and creatine were decreased in high-grade compared with low-grade meningiomas, as was the ratio of glycine to alanine (all p < 0.05). Additionally, alanine and the glycine/alanine ratio distinguished between primary and recurrent meningiomas (all p < 0.05). Finally, the absolute concentrations of alanine and creatine, and the glycine/alanine and choline/glutamate ratios were associated with rapid recurrence (p < 0.05).

Conclusions

. These data indicate that meningioma tissue can be characterized by metabolic parameters that are not typically identified by histopathological analysis alone. Creatine, glycine, and alanine may be used as markers of meningioma grade, recurrence, and the likelihood of rapid recurrence. These data validate a previous study of a separate group of Grade I meningiomas.