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Retrosigmoid intradural suprameatal approach to Meckel's cave and the middle fossa: surgical technique and outcome

Madjid Samii, Marcos Tatagiba, and Gustavo A. Carvalho


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).


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.


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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Introduction. Update on the treatment of acoustic tumors

Michael J. Link, Douglas Kondziolka, and Madjid Samii

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Surgical reconstruction of the musculocutaneous nerve in traumatic brachial plexus injuries

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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Evolution of vestibular schwannoma surgery: the long journey to current success

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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A positron emission tomography study of cerebrovascular reserve before and after shunt surgery in patients with idiopathic chronic hydrocephalus

Petra M. Klinge, Georg Berding, Thomas Brinker, Wolfram H. Knapp, and Madjid Samii


In this study the authors use positron emission tomography (PET) to investigate cerebral blood flow (CBF) and cerebrovascular reserve (CVR) in chronic hydrocephalus.


Ten patients whose mean age was 67 ± 10 years (mean ± standard deviation [SD]) were compared with 10 healthy volunteers who were 25 ±3 years of age. Global CBF and CVR were determined using 15O–H2O and PET prior to shunt placement and 7 days and 7 months thereafter. The CVR was measured using 1 g acetazolamide. Neurological status was assessed based on a score assigned according to the methods of Stein and Langfitt.

Seven months after shunt placement, five patients showed clinical improvement (Group A) and five did not (Group B). The average global CBF before shunt deployment was significantly reduced in comparison with the control group (40 ± 8 compared with 61 ± 7 ml/100 ml/minute; mean ± SD, p < 0.01). In Group A the CBF values were significantly lower than in Group B (36 ± 7 compared with 44 ± 8 ml/100 ml/minute; p < 0.05). The CVR before surgery, however, was not significantly different between groups (Group A = 43 ± 21%, Group B = 37 ± 29%). After shunt placement, there was an increase in the CVR in Group A to 52 ± 37% after 7 days and to 68 ± 47% after 7 months (p < 0.05), whereas in Group B the CVR decreased to 14 ± 18% (p < 0.05) after 7 days and returned to the preoperative level (39 ± 6%) 7 months after shunt placement.


The preliminary results indicate that a reduced baseline CBF before surgery does not indicate a poor prognosis. Baseline CBF before shunt placement and preoperative CVR are not predictive of clinical outcome. A decrease in the CVR early after shunt placement, however, is related to poor late clinical outcome, whereas early improvement in the CVR after shunt placement indicates a good prognosis.

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In vivo treatment with anti-CD44 monoclonal antibody disrupts intracerebral progression of C6 glioblastoma

Roger Breyer, Sami Hussein, Dorel L. Radu, Klaus-Martin Pütz, Sven Gunia, Hartmut Hecker, Madjid Samii, Gerhard F. Walter, and Alexandru C. Stan

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) invasiveness is a complex process that involves recognition and attachment of GBM cells to particular extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules prior to migrating into proteolytically modified matrix and inducing angiogenesis. The CD44, which is a transmembrane adhesion molecule found on a wide variety of cells including GBM, has been suggested as the principal mediator of migration and invasion. The aim of the present study was to demonstrate whether an antibody specific to the standard form of CD44 (CD44s, 85-90 kDa) might prevent invasion and thus disrupt progression of C6 GBM in vivo.

Immunostaining demonstrated homogenous expression of CD44s on the surface of C6 GBM cells and tumors. Flow cytometric analysis demonstrated binding saturation of anti-CD44s mAb to the receptor at 1 μg/5 X 105 cells. Blocking of CD44s in vitro resulted in a dose-dependent progressive (up to 94 ± 2.7%; mean ± standard deviation [SD]) detachment of C6 cells from ECM-coated culture surfaces. Blocking of CD44s in vivo resulted in significantly reduced C6 brain tumors (3.6 ± 0.4% [SD])--measured as the quotient: tumor surface (mm2)/brain surface (mm2) X 100--as compared with untreated (19.9% ± 0.9%) or sham-treated rats (19.2 ± 1.1% to 19.3 ± 2.5% [SD]). Disruption of C6 GBM progression correlated with an improved food intake; treated rats were significantly less cachectic (166.6 ± 16.4 g [SD]) than those that were untreated (83.0 ± 2.7 g [SD]) or sham-treated (83.4 ± 1.1 g to 83.0 ± 2.2 g [SD]) rats.

The authors conclude that CD44s-targeted treatment with specific mAb may represent an effective means for preventing progression of highly invasive GBMs.