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Roberto C. Heros

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Adib A. Abla and Michael T. Lawton

Object

The authors describe their experience with intracranial-to-intracranial (IC-IC) bypasses for complex anterior cerebral artery (ACA) aneurysms with giant size, dolichoectatic morphology, or intraluminal thrombus; they determine how others have addressed the limitations of ACA bypass; and they discuss clinical indications and microsurgical technique.

Methods

A consecutive, single-surgeon experience with ACA aneurysms and bypasses over a 16-year period was retrospectively reviewed. Bypasses for ACA aneurysms reported in the literature were also reviewed.

Results

Ten patients had aneurysms that were treated with ACA bypass as part of their surgical intervention. Four patients presented with subarachnoid hemorrhage and 3 patients with mass effect symptoms from giant aneurysms; 1 patient with bacterial endocarditis had a mycotic aneurysm, and 1 patient's meningioma resection was complicated by an iatrogenic pseudoaneurysm. One patient had his aneurysm discovered incidentally. There were 2 precommunicating aneurysms (A1 segment of the ACA), 5 communicating aneurysms (ACoA), and 3 postcommunicating (A2–A3 segments of the ACA). In situ bypasses were used in 4 patients (A3-A3 bypass), interposition bypasses in 4 patients, reimplantation in 1 patient (pericallosal artery-to-callosomarginal artery), and reanastomosis in 1 patient (pericallosal artery). Complete aneurysm obliteration was demonstrated in 8 patients, and bypass patency was demonstrated in 8 patients. One bypass thrombosed, but 4 years later. There were no operative deaths, and permanent neurological morbidity was observed in 2 patients. At last follow-up, 8 patients (80%) were improved or unchanged. In a review of the 29 relevant reports, the A3-A3 in situ bypass was used most commonly, extracranial (EC)–IC interpositional bypasses were the second most common, and reanastomosis and reimplantation were used the least.

Conclusions

Anterior cerebral artery aneurysms requiring bypass are rare and can be revascularized in a variety of ways. Anterior cerebral artery aneurysms, more than any other aneurysms, require a thorough survey of patient-specific anatomy and microsurgical options before deciding on an individualized management strategy. The authors' experience demonstrates a preference for IC-IC reconstruction, but EC-IC bypasses are reported frequently in the literature. The authors conclude that ACA bypass with indirect aneurysm occlusion is a good alternative to direct clip reconstruction for complex ACA aneurysms.

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Rene O. Sanchez-Mejia and Michael T. Lawton

✓Distal aneurysms of basilar perforating and circumferential arteries are exceedingly rare. The authors encountered one patient with a distal basilar perforating artery aneurysm and two with aneurysms arising from circumferential branches of the basilar artery (BA). The diagnostic features, microsurgical treatment, and outcomes in these three patients are described. The first patient, a 27-year-old man, presented with an angiogram-negative subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), and subsequent readmission for a new hemorrhage revealed a centrally thrombosed aneurysm arising from a basilar apex perforating artery. The second patient, a 68-year-old man, presented for follow-up evaluation 2 months after an angio-gram-negative SAH, and an aneurysm was identified on a circumferential artery originating from the BA trunk. The third patient, a 2-year-old boy, presented with blunt head trauma and a pseudoaneurysm arising from a basilar apex circumferential artery.

All three aneurysms were managed microsurgically with aneurysm trapping, via either an orbitozygomatic or an extended retrosigmoid approach. Occlusion of the distal perforating or circumferential artery was well tolerated in all cases, with no neurological sequelae resulting from surgery. Features common to all three aneurysms were dolichoectatic morphology, intraluminal thrombus, and SAH. These aneurysms may be difficult to diagnose given their small size and delayed filling on angiographic studies. Consequently, their presence in cases of angiogram-negative SAH may be underestimated. These aneurysms are not amenable to endovascular treatment, but excellent results can be obtained with microsurgical exposure and trapping.

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Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, Kurtis I. Auguste, and Michael T. Lawton

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John A. Anson, Michael T. Lawton, and Robert F. Spetzler

✓ Dolichoectatic and fusiform aneurysms represent a small subset of cerebral aneurysms and are often among the most difficult to treat. A consecutive series of 40 patients with 41 of these two types of aneurysms is presented, including their clinical characteristics and surgical treatments. Common to all aneurysms was the pathological involvement of a length of blood vessel with separate inflow and outflow sites (nonsaccular). However, dolichoectatic aneurysms have markedly different symptoms and surgical treatments depending on their location in either the anterior or posterior circulation. Anterior circulation aneurysms involved the petrous internal carotid artery (ICA) in one, the supraclinoid ICA in three, the middle cerebral artery in 13, and the anterior cerebral artery in four patients. Posterior circulation aneurysms involved the basilar artery in 13, the vertebral artery in six, and the posterior inferior cerebellar artery in one patient. Various surgical procedures were performed, including direct clipping, trapping with bypass, proximal occlusion, resection with reanastomosis, transposition, aneurysmorrhaphy with thrombectomy, and wrapping. There was no surgical mortality in the patient series, and treatment was effective in many patients. Overall, outcome at late follow up was good (Glasgow Outcome Scale scores 1–2) in 78% of patients. Patients with anterior circulation aneurysms had better outcomes than patients with posterior circulation aneurysms, with good outcomes in 90% and 65% of the cases, respectively. Dolichoectatic and giant serpentine aneurysms may develop from smaller fusiform aneurysms and represent a spectrum of the same pathological entity. Arterial dissection may also play a role in the initial development of these aneurysms.

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Michael T. Lawton, Ronald Jacobowitz, and Robert F. Spetzler

✓ To investigate the role of angiogenesis in the pathogenesis of dural arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), 40 rats underwent common carotid artery—external jugular vein (CCA-EJV) anastomosis, bipolar coagulation of the vein draining the transverse sinus, and sagittal sinus thrombosis to induce venous hypertension. Fifteen rats underwent a similar surgical procedure, but venous hypertension was not induced. The 55 rats were divided into seven groups. Four groups, each containing 10 rats, underwent induced venous hypertension. The other three groups, each containing five rats, did not undergo induced venous hypertension. After 1, 2, or 3 weeks, dura mater was obtained from one group of hypertensive rats and from one group of nonhypertensive rats and was assayed for angiogenic activity (rabbit cornea bioassay). The remaining group of 10 hypertensive rats was not assayed to determine if sampling affected dural AVM formation. Unlike rats without CCA-EJV anastomosis, rats with CCA-EJV anastomosis had significantly increased postoperative sagittal sinus pressures (p < 0.0001). Mean angiogenesis indices were significantly greater in rats with venous hypertension than in rats without venous hypertension (p = 0.004). Dural AVMs formed in 42% of the 55 rats and facial AVMs formed in 51%. Angiogenic activity correlated positively with venous hypertension (ρ = 0.74). Development of dural AVMs correlated positively with both venous hypertension (p = 0.0009) and angiogenic activity (p = 0.04). These data indicate that venous hypertension may induce angiogenic activity either directly or indirectly by decreasing cerebral perfusion and increasing ischemia, and that dural AVM formation may be the result of aberrant angiogenesis.

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Ana Rodríguez-Hernández, Christina Huang, and Michael T. Lawton

Iatrogenic pseudoaneurysms are rare but serious complications of transsphenoidal surgery, and an iatrogenic pseudoaneurysm of the posterior cerebral artery (PCA) has been reported just once in the literature. The authors encountered such a case with a new P1 segment PCA pseudoaneurysm after endoscopic transsphenoidal resection of a pituitary adenoma. The aneurysm proved ideal for a novel intracranial–intracranial bypass in which the superior cerebellar artery (SCA) was used as an in situ donor artery to revascularize the recipient P2 segment. The bypass allowed aneurysm trapping without causing ischemic stroke or neurological morbidity. This case represents the first reported surgical treatment of an iatrogenic PCA pseudoaneurysm. Endovascular occlusion with coils was an option, but dolichoectatic morphology requires sacrifice of the P1 segment, with associated risks to the thalamoperforators and circumflex perforators. The SCA-PCA bypass was ideal because of low-flow demands. Like other in situ bypasses, it requires no dissection of extracranial arteries, no second incision for harvesting interposition grafts, and has a high likelihood of long-term patency. The SCA-PCA bypass is also applicable to fusiform SCA aneurysms requiring revascularization with trapping. This case demonstrates a dangerous complication that results from the limited view of the posterolateral surgical field through the endoscope and the imprecision of endoscopic instruments.

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Ana Rodríguez-Hernández, Albert L. Rhoton Jr., and Michael T. Lawton

Object

The conceptual division of intracranial arteries into segments provides a better understanding of their courses and a useful working vocabulary. Segmental anatomy of cerebral arteries is commonly cited by a numerical nomenclature, but an analogous nomenclature for cerebellar arteries has not been described. In this report, the microsurgical anatomy of the cerebellar arteries is reviewed, and a numbering system for cerebellar arteries is proposed.

Methods

Cerebellar arteries were designated by the first letter of the artery's name in lowercase letters, distinguishing them from cerebral arteries with the same first letter of the artery's name. Segmental anatomy was numbered in ascending order from proximal to distal segments.

Results

The superior cerebellar artery was divided into 4 segments: s1, anterior pontomesencephalic segment; s2, lateral pontomesencephalic segment; s3, cerebellomesencephalic segment; and s4, cortical segment. The anterior inferior cerebellar artery was divided into 4 segments: a1, anterior pontine segment; a2, lateral pontine segment; a3, flocculopeduncular segment; and a4, cortical segment. The posterior inferior cerebellar artery was divided into 5 segments: p1, anterior medullary segment; p2, lateral medullary segment; p3, tonsillomedullary segment; p4, telovelotonsillar segment; and p5, cortical segment.

Conclusions

The proposed nomenclature for segmental anatomy of cerebellar artery complements established nomenclature for segmental anatomy of cerebral arteries. This nomenclature is simple, easy to learn, and practical. The nomenclature localizes distal cerebellar artery aneurysms and also localizes an anastomosis or describes a graft's connections to donor and recipient arteries. These applications of the proposed nomenclature with cerebellar arteries mimic the applications of the established nomenclature with cerebral arteries.

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Adib A. Abla, Cameron M. McDougall, Jonathan D. Breshears, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECT

Intracranial-to-intracranial (IC-IC) bypasses are alternatives to traditional extracranial-to-intracranial (EC-IC) bypasses to reanastomose parent arteries, reimplant efferent branches, revascularize branches with in situ donor arteries, and reconstruct bifurcations with interposition grafts that are entirely intracranial. These bypasses represent an evolution in bypass surgery from using scalp arteries and remote donor sites toward a more local and reconstructive approach. IC-IC bypass can be utilized preferentially when revascularization is needed in the management of complex aneurysms. Experiences using IC-IC bypass, as applied to posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) aneurysms in 35 patients, were reviewed.

METHODS

Patients with PICA aneurysms and vertebral artery (VA) aneurysms involving the PICA’s origin were identified from a prospectively maintained database of the Vascular Neurosurgery Service, and patients who underwent bypass procedures for PICA revascularization were included.

RESULTS

During a 17-year period in which 129 PICA aneurysms in 125 patients were treated microsurgically, 35 IC-IC bypasses were performed as part of PICA aneurysm management, including in situ p3-p3 PICA-PICA bypass in 11 patients (31%), PICA reimplantation in 9 patients (26%), reanastomosis in 14 patients (40%), and 1 V3 VA-to-PICA bypass with an interposition graft (3%). All aneurysms were completely or nearly completely obliterated, 94% of bypasses were patent, 77% of patients were improved or unchanged after treatment, and good outcomes (modified Rankin Scale ≤ 2) were observed in 76% of patients. Two patients died expectantly. Ischemic complications were limited to 2 patients in whom the bypasses occluded, and permanent lower cranial nerve morbidity was limited to 3 patients and did not compromise independent function in any of the patients.

CONCLUSIONS

PICA aneurysms receive the application of IC-IC bypass better than any other aneurysm, with nearly one-quarter of all PICA aneurysms treated microsurgically at our center requiring bypass without a single EC-IC bypass. The selection of PICA bypass is almost algorithmic: trapped aneurysms at the PICA origin or p1 segment are revascularized with a PICA-PICA bypass, with PICA reimplantation as an alternative; trapped p2 segment aneurysms are reanastomosed, bypassed in situ, or reimplanted; distal p3 segment aneurysms are reanastomosed or revascularized with a PICA-PICA bypass; and aneurysms of the p4 segment that are too distal for PICA-PICA bypass are reanastomosed. Interposition grafts are reserved for when these 3 primary options are unsuitable. A constructive approach that preserves the PICA with direct clipping or replaces flow with a bypass when sacrificed should remain an alternative to deconstructive PICA occlusion and endovascular coiling when complete aneurysm occlusion is unlikely.

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Suzanne M. Michalak, John D. Rolston, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECT

Surgery requires careful coordination of multiple team members, each playing a vital role in mitigating errors. Previous studies have focused on eliciting errors from only the attending surgeon, likely missing events observed by other team members.

METHODS

Surveys were administered to the attending surgeon, resident surgeon, anesthesiologist, and nursing staff immediately following each of 31 cerebrovascular surgeries; participants were instructed to record any deviation from optimal course (DOC). DOCs were categorized and sorted by reporter and perioperative timing, then correlated with delays and outcome measures.

RESULTS

Errors were recorded in 93.5% of the 31 cases surveyed. The number of errors recorded per case ranged from 0 to 8, with an average of 3.1 ± 2.1 errors (± SD). Overall, technical errors were most common (24.5%), followed by communication (22.4%), management/judgment (16.0%), and equipment (11.7%). The resident surgeon reported the most errors (52.1%), followed by the circulating nurse (31.9%), the attending surgeon (26.6%), and the anesthesiologist (14.9%). The attending and resident surgeons were most likely to report technical errors (52% and 30.6%, respectively), while anesthesiologists and circulating nurses mostly reported anesthesia errors (36%) and communication errors (50%), respectively. The overlap in reported errors was 20.3%. If this study had used only the surveys completed by the attending surgeon, as in prior studies, 72% of equipment errors, 90% of anesthesia and communication errors, and 100% of nursing errors would have been missed. In addition, it would have been concluded that errors occurred in only 45.2% of cases (rather than 93.5%) and that errors resulting in a delay occurred in 3.2% of cases instead of the 74.2% calculated using data from 4 team members. Compiled results from all team members yielded significant correlations between technical DOCs and prolonged hospital stays and reported and actual delays (p = 0.001 and p = 0.028, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

This study is the only of its kind to elicit error reporting from multiple members of the operating team, and it demonstrates error is truly in the eye of the beholder—the types and timing of perioperative errors vary based on whom you ask. The authors estimate that previous studies surveying only the attending physician missed up to 75% of perioperative errors. By finding significant correlations between technical DOCs and prolonged hospital stays and reported and actual delays, this study shows that these surveys provide relevant and useful information for improving clinical practice. Overall, the results of this study emphasize that research on medical error must include input from all members of the operating team; it is only by understanding every perspective that surgical staff can begin to efficiently prevent errors, improve patient care and safety, and decrease delays.