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Andrew F. Alalade, Elizabeth Ogando-Rivas, Jerome Boatey, Mark M. Souweidane, Vijay K. Anand, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

The expanded endonasal endoscopic transsphenoidal approach has become increasingly used for craniopharyngioma surgery in the pediatric population, but questions still persist regarding its utility in younger children, in recurrent and irradiated tumors, and in masses primarily located in the suprasellar region. The narrow corridor, incomplete pneumatization, and fear of hypothalamic injury have traditionally relegated this approach to application in older children with mostly cystic craniopharyngiomas centered in the sella. The authors present a series of consecutive pediatric patients in whom the endonasal endoscopic approach was used to remove craniopharyngiomas from patients of varied ages, regardless of the location of the tumor and previous treatments or surgeries, to ascertain if the traditional concerns about limitations of this approach are worth reevaluating

METHODS

Eleven consecutive pediatric patients (age ≤ 18 years) underwent surgery via an endoscopic transsphenoidal approach at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center from 2007 to 2016. The authors recorded the location, consistency, and size of the lesion, assessed for hypothalamic invasion radiographically, calculated skull base measurements, and assessed parameters such as extent of resection, visual function, endocrinological function, weight gain, and return-to-school status.

RESULTS

The average age at the time of surgery was 7.9 years (range 4–17 years) and the tumor sizes ranged from 1.3 to 41.7 cm3. Five cases were purely suprasellar, 5 had solid components, 4 were reoperations, and 5 had a conchal sphenoid aeration. Nevertheless, gross-total resection was achieved in 45% of the patients and 50% of those in whom it was the goal of surgery, without any correlation with the location, tumor consistency, or the age of the patient. Near-total resection, subtotal resection, or biopsy was performed intentionally in the remaining patients to avoid hypothalamic injury. Anterior pituitary dysfunction occurred in 81.8% of the patients, and 63.3% developed diabetes insipidus . Two patients (18%) had a greater than 9% increase in body mass index. Visual function was stable or improved in 73%. All children returned to an academic environment, with 10 of them in the grade appropriate for their age. There was a single case of each of the following: CSF leak, loss of vision unilaterally, and abscess.

CONCLUSIONS

The endoscopic transsphenoidal approach is suitable for removing pediatric craniopharyngiomas even in young children with suprasellar tumors, conchal sphenoid sinus, recurrent tumors, and tumors with solid components. The extent of resection is dictated by intrinsic hypothalamic tumor invasiveness rather than the approach. The endoscopic transsphenoidal approach affords the ability to directly inspect the hypothalamus to determine invasion, which may help spare the patient from hypothalamic injury. Irrespective of approach, the rates of postoperative endocrinopathy remain high and the learning curve for the approach to a relatively rare tumor is steep.

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Jonathan A. Forbes, Matei Banu, Kurt Lehner, Malte Ottenhausen, Emanuele La Corte, Andrew F. Alalade, Edgar G. Ordóñez-Rubiano, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Epidermoid cysts (ECs) commonly extend to involve the ventral cisterns of the cranial base. When present, symptoms arise due to progressive mass effect on the brainstem and adjacent cranial nerves. Historically, a variety of open microsurgical approaches have been used for resection of ECs in this intricate region. In recent years, the endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) has been proposed as an alternative corridor that avoids crossing the plane of the cranial nerves. To date, there is a paucity of data in the literature regarding the safety and efficacy of the EEA in the treatment of ECs of the ventral cranial base.

METHODS

The authors reviewed a prospectively acquired database of EEAs for resection of ECs over 8 years at Weill Cornell, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. All procedures were performed by the senior authors. Standardized clinical and radiological parameters were assessed before and after surgery. Statistical tests were used to determine the impact of previous surgery and tumor volume on extent of resection and recurrence as well as the method of closure on rate of CSF leak.

RESULTS

Between January 2009 and February 2017, 7 patients (4 males and 3 females; age range 16–70 years) underwent a total of 8 surgeries for EC resection utilizing the EEA. Transplanum and transclival extensions were performed in 3 and 5 patients, respectively. Methods of closure incorporated a gasket seal in 6 of 8 procedures and a nasoseptal flap in 7 of 8 procedures. Gross-total resection (GTR) was achieved in 43% of patients, and near-total resection (> 95%) was obtained in another 43%. Complications included diabetes insipidus (n = 2), postoperative CSF leak (n = 2), transient third cranial nerve palsy (n = 1), and epistaxis (n = 1). With a mean follow-up of 43.5 months, recurrence has been observed in 2 of 7 patients. In 1 case, reoperation for recurrence was required 71 months following the initial surgery. Use of the gasket-seal technique with nasoseptal flap coverage significantly correlated with the absence of postoperative CSF leakage (p = 0.018). GTR was achieved in 25% of the patients who had prior surgeries and in 50% of patients without previous resections. The mean volume of cysts in which GTR was achieved (4.3 ± 1.8 cm3) was smaller than that in which subtotal or near-total resection was achieved (12.2 ± 11 cm3, p = 0.134).

CONCLUSIONS

The EEA for resection of ECs of the ventral cranial base is a safe and effective operative strategy that avoids crossing the plane of the cranial nerves. In the authors’ experience, gasket-seal closure with nasoseptal flap coverage has been associated with a decreased risk of postoperative CSF leakage.

Free access

Malte Ottenhausen, Kavelin Rumalla, Andrew F. Alalade, Prakash Nair, Emanuele La Corte, Iyan Younus, Jonathan A. Forbes, Atef Ben Nsir, Matei A. Banu, Apostolos John Tsiouris, and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Anterior skull base meningiomas are benign lesions that cause neurological symptoms through mass effect on adjacent neurovascular structures. While traditional transcranial approaches have proven to be effective at removing these tumors, minimally invasive approaches that involve using an endoscope offer the possibility of reducing brain and nerve retraction, minimizing incision size, and speeding patient recovery; however, appropriate case selection and results in large series are lacking.

METHODS

The authors developed an algorithm for selecting a supraorbital keyhole minicraniotomy (SKM) for olfactory groove meningiomas or an expanded endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) for tuberculum sella (TS) or planum sphenoidale (PS) meningiomas based on the presence or absence of olfaction and the anatomical extent of the tumor. Where neither approach is appropriate, a standard transcranial approach is utilized. The authors describe rates of gross-total resection (GTR), olfactory outcomes, and visual outcomes, as well as complications, for 7 subgroups of patients. Exceptions to the algorithm are also discussed.

RESULTS

The series of 57 patients harbored 57 anterior skull base meningiomas; the mean tumor volume was 14.7 ± 15.4 cm3 (range 2.2–66.1 cm3), and the mean follow-up duration was 42.2 ± 37.1 months (range 2–144 months). Of 19 patients with olfactory groove meningiomas, 10 had preserved olfaction and underwent SKM, and preservation of olfaction in was seen in 60%. Of 9 patients who presented without olfaction, 8 had cribriform plate invasion and underwent combined SKM and EEA (n = 3), bifrontal craniotomy (n = 3), or EEA (n = 2), and one patient without both olfaction and cribriform plate invasion underwent SKM. GTR was achieved in 94.7%. Of 38 TS/PS meningiomas, 36 of the lesions were treated according to the algorithm. Of these 36 meningiomas, 30 were treated by EEA and 6 by craniotomy. GTR was achieved in 97.2%, with no visual deterioration and one CSF leak that resolved by placement of a lumbar drain. Two patients with tumors that, based on the algorithm, were not amenable to an EEA underwent EEA nonetheless: one had GTR and the other had a residual tumor that was followed and removed via craniotomy 9 years later.

CONCLUSIONS

Utilizing a simple algorithm aimed at preserving olfaction and vision and based on maximizing use of minimally invasive approaches and selective use of transcranial approaches, the authors found that excellent outcomes can be achieved for anterior skull base meningiomas.