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Sharon R. Weeks, Carolyn E. Gosztyla, Laurence Davidson and Howard I. Pryor II

Patients with complex medical problems and multiple failed ventricular shunts require continued innovation for hydrocephalus management. The authors report the case of a 4-year-old boy with refractory hydrocephalus and secondary reduced ability to absorb CSF in both the pleural and peritoneal cavities following renal transplantation. A novel management approach was devised with split shunting to pleural and peritoneal targets as well as prophylactic pleural port placement to provide a method for minimally invasive thoracentesis should symptomatic pleural effusions develop. Fluid was successfully aspirated via the pleural port with relief of symptoms over a period of 16 months without complication. The authors demonstrate that a previously undescribed approach to distal shunting can prevent neurological sequelae of shunt failure and permit noninvasive maintenance drainage for patients in whom symptomatic pleural effusion is a recurrent complication.

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Laurence Davidson, Dawn Fishback, Jonathan J. Russin, Martin H. Weiss, Cheng Yu, Paul G. Pagnini, Vladimir Zelman, Michael L. J. Apuzzo and Steven L. Giannotta


The standard treatment for meningiomas is complete resection, but the proximity of skull base meningiomas to important neurovascular structures makes complete excision of the lesion difficult or impossible. The authors analyzed the mid- and long-term results obtained in patients treated with postresection Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) for residual or recurrent benign meningiomas of the cranial base.


Thirty-six patients with residual or recurrent benign meningiomas of the skull base following one or more surgical procedures underwent GKS. There were 31 women and five men, ranging in age from 22 to 73 years. The median tumor volume was 4.1 ml (range 0.8–20 ml) and the median radiation dose to the tumor margin was 16 Gy (range 15–16 Gy).


Patients were followed for a median of 81 months (range 30–141 months) after GKS. At the end of the follow-up period, overall neurological improvement was observed in 16 patients (44.4%), whereas the condition in 20 patients (55.6%) was unchanged. One patient suffered transient cerebral edema 6 months after GKS. Based on imaging documentation, a partial response was seen in five patients (13.9%), the disease remained stable in 30 patients (83.3%), and in one patient (2.8%) there was an increase in tumor size. The actuarial progression-free survival rate was 100% at 5 years and 94.7% at 10 years.


Gamma Knife surgery was shown to be an excellent adjunct to resection because of its durable rate of tumor control and low toxicity. It should be initially considered along with surgery for the treatment of complex skull base meningiomas.