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Amin Kassam, Carl H. Snyderman, Arlan Mintz, Paul Gardner and Ricardo L. Carrau

Object

Transsphenoidal approaches have been used for a century for the resection of pituitary and other sellar tumors. More recently, the standard endonasal approach has been expanded to provide access to other, parasellar lesions. With the addition of the endoscope, this expansion carries significant potential for the resection of skull base lesions.

Methods

The anatomical landmarks and surgical techniques used in expanded (extended) endoscopic approaches to the rostral, anterior skull base are reviewed and presented, accompanied by case illustrations of each segment (or module) of approach. The rostral half of the anterior skull base is divided into modules of approach: sellar/parasellar, transplanum/transtuberculum, and transcribriform. Case illustrations of successful resections of lesions with each module are presented and discussed.

Conclusions

Endoscopic, expanded endonasal approaches to rostral anterior skull base lesions are feasible and hold great potential for decreased morbidity. The effectiveness and appropriate use of these techniques must be evaluated by close examination of outcomes as case series expand.

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Amin Kassam, Carl H. Snyderman, Arlan Mintz, Paul Gardner and Ricardo L. Carrau

Object

Transsphenoidal approaches have been used for a century for the resection of pituitary and other sellar tumors. Recently, however, the standard endonasal approach has been expanded to provide access to other parasellar lesions. With the addition of the endoscope, this expansion has significant potential for the resection of skull base lesions.

Methods

The anatomical landmarks and surgical techniques used in expanded (extended) endoscopic approaches to the clivus and cervicomedullary junction are reviewed and presented, accompanied by case illustrations of each segment (or module) of approach.

The caudal portion of the midline anterior skull base and the cervicomedullary junction is divided into modules of approach: the middle third of the clivus, its lower third, and the cervicomedullary junction. Case illustrations of successful resections of lesions via each module of the approach are presented and discussed.

Conclusions

Endoscopic expanded endonasal approaches to caudally located midline anterior skull base and cervicomedullary lesions are feasible and hold great potential for decreased morbidity. The effectiveness and appropriate use of these techniques must be evaluated by close examination of outcomes as case series expand.

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Amin Kassam, Carl H. Snyderman, Ricardo L. Carrau, Paul Gardner and Arlan Mintz

The increasing popularity of minimally invasive neurosurgery has led to the development of transnasal expanded approaches for the treatment of skull base lesions. One of the greatest challenges in safely accomplishing resection of tumors, particularly intradural lesions, is effective hemostasis. Over the past 7 years the authors have progressively developed an organized approach to address this challenge. This has required the development of new instrumentation as well as variations on standard techniques. In this report they present the technique that has evolved at their institution for endoneurosurgical hemostasis.

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Amin Kassam, Ricardo L. Carrau, Carl H. Snyderman, Paul Gardner and Arlan Mintz

Harvey Cushing first popularized the transsphenoidal route to the sella turcica, and Jules Hardy subsequently refined it by adding the operating microscope. Over the ensuing decades, attempts at extending the application of this approach have been advanced by Edward Laws and others. With the evolution of endoscopic approaches, the natural expansion of their use to intradural lesions followed. For the expanded endonasal approach to become a viable option, the paramount concerns surrounding consistent reconstruction of the dura mater must be overcome. In this review the authors chronicle the evolution of the reconstruction technique they currently use after performing expanded endonasal approaches. They also report the use of a balloon stent to buttress the reconstruction and counter the effects of graft migration and cerebrospinal fluid fistula formation. The technique described in this report represents an important step forward in the reconstruction of defects resulting from expanded endonasal approaches.

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Amin B. Kassam, Paul A. Gardner, Arlan Mintz, Carl H. Snyderman, Ricardo L. Carrau and Michael Horowitz

✓Paraclinoidal aneurysms, especially superior hypophyseal artery (SHA) aneurysms (with medial projection), can be challenging to access via a pterional craniotomy and damage to the optic nerve can occur during surgery. The authors have previously reported on endonasal clipping and aneurysmorrhaphy of a vertebral artery aneurysm following proximal and distal protection of the aneurysm using partial coil embolization. To the best of the authors' knowledge no unprotected aneurysm has been clipped using an endonasal approach.

The 56-year-old woman in this report was found to have two unruptured aneurysms: an anterior communicating artery (ACoA) aneurysm and an SHA aneurysm. An endoscopic endonasal, transplanar–transsellar approach was used to successfully clip the SHA aneurysm. Proximal and distal control was obtained endonasally prior to successful clip occlusion of the aneurysm. The ACoA aneurysm was clipped via a pterional craniotomy during the same anesthetic session. This report shows that it is possible to successfully clip a medially projecting, paraclinoidal aneurysm using an endonasal approach. Such cases must be chosen with extreme caution and only performed by surgeons with significant experience with both endoscopic endonasal approaches and neurovascular surgery.

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Paul A. Gardner, Daniel M. Prevedello, Amin B. Kassam, Carl H. Snyderman, Ricardo L. Carrau and Arlan H. Mintz

✓Craniopharyngiomas have always been an extremely challenging type of tumor to treat. The transsphenoidal route has been used for resection of these lesions since its introduction. The authors present a historical review of the literature from the introduction of the endonasal route for resection of craniopharyngiomas until the present. Abandoned early due to technological limitations, this approach has been expanded both in its application and in its anatomical boundaries with subsequent progressive improvements in outcomes. This expansion has coincided with advances in visualization devices, imaging guidance techniques, and anatomical understanding. The progression from the use of headlights, to microscopy, to endoscopy and fluoroscopy, and finally to modern intraoperative magnetic resonance–guided techniques, combined with collaboration between otolaryngologists and neurosurgeons, has provided the framework for the development of current techniques for the resection of sellar and suprasellar craniopharyngiomas.

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Amin B. Kassam, Paul A. Gardner, Carl H. Snyderman, Ricardo L. Carrau, Arlan H. Mintz and Daniel M. Prevedello

Object

Craniopharyngiomas are notoriously difficult to treat. Surgeons must weigh the risks of aggressive resection against the long-term challenges of recurrence. Because of their parasellar location, often extending well beyond the sella, these tumors challenge vision and pituitary and hypothalamic function. New techniques are needed to improve outcomes in patients with these tumors while decreasing treatment morbidity. An endoscopic expanded endonasal approach (EEA) is one such technique that warrants understanding and evaluation. The authors explain the techniques and approach used for the endoscopic endonasal resection of suprasellar craniopharyngiomas and introduce a tumor classification scheme.

Methods

The techniques and approach used for the endoscopic, endonasal resection of suprasellar craniopharyngiomas is explained, including the introduction of a tumor classification scheme. This scheme is helpful for understanding both the appropriate expanded approach as well as relevant involved anatomy.

Results

The classification scheme divides tumors according to their suprasellar extension: Type I is preinfundibular; Type II is transinfundibular (extending into the stalk); Type III is retroinfundibular, extending behind the gland and stalk, and has 2 subdivisions (IIIa, extending into the third ventricle; and IIIb, extending into the interpeduncular cistern); and Type IV is isolated to the third ventricle and/or optic recess and is not accessible via an endonasal approach.

Conclusions

The endoscopic EEA requires a thorough understanding of both sinus and skull base anatomy. Moreover, in its application for craniopharyngiomas, an understanding of tumor growth and extension with respect to the optic chiasm and infundibulum is critical to safely approach the lesion via an endonasal route.

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Paul A. Gardner, Amin B. Kassam, Carl H. Snyderman, Ricardo L. Carrau, Arlan H. Mintz, Steven Grahovac and Susan Stefko

Object

Craniopharyngiomas are challenging tumors that most frequently occur in the sellar or suprasellar regions. Microscopic transsphenoidal resections with various extensions and variations have been performed with good results. The addition of the endoscope as well as the further expansion of the standard and extended transsphenoidal approaches has not been well evaluated for the treatment of this pathological entity.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective review of all patients who underwent a purely endoscopic, expanded endonasal approach (EEA) for the resection of craniopharyngiomas at their institution between June 1999 and February 2006. Endocrine and ophthalmological outcomes, extent of resection, and complications were evaluated.

Results

Sixteen patients underwent endoscopic EEA for the resection of craniopharyngiomas. Five patients (31%) presented with recurrent disease. Complete resection was planned in 11 of the 16 patients. Three elderly patients with vision loss underwent planned debulking, 1 patient with vision loss and a moderate-sized tumor had express wishes for debulking, and 1 patient had a separate, third ventricular nodule that was not resected. Of those in whom complete resection was planned, 91% underwent near-total (2/11) or gross-total (8/11) resection. No patient who underwent gross-total resection suffered a recurrence. The mean follow-up period was 34 months. Of the 14 patients who presented with vision loss, 93% had improvement or complete recovery and 1 patient's condition remained stable. No patient experienced visual worsening. Eighteen percent of patients (without preexisting hypopituitarism) developed panhypopituitarism and 8% developed permanent diabetes insipidus. There were no cases of new obesity. The postoperative cere-brospinal fluid leak rate was 58%. All leaks were resolved, and there were no cases of bacterial meningitis. There was 1 vascular injury (posterior cerebral artery perforator branch) resulting in the only new neurological deficit. No patient died.

Conclusions

Endoscopic EEA for the resection of craniopharyngiomas provides acceptable results and holds the potential to improve outcomes.

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Amin B. Kassam, Allan D. Vescan, Ricardo L. Carrau, Daniel M. Prevedello, Paul Gardner, Arlan H. Mintz, Carl H. Snyderman and Albert L. Rhoton Jr.

✓ The purpose of this study was to describe the technique used to safely identify the petrous carotid artery during expanded endonasal approaches to the skull base. A series of 20 cadaveric studies was undertaken to isolate the vidian artery and nerve and to use them as landmarks to the petrous internal carotid artery (ICA). Twenty-five consecutive paraclival endoscopic cases were also reviewed to determine the consistency of the vidian artery in vivo as an intraoperative landmark to the ICA. These data were then correlated with results from a separate study in which computed tomography scans from 44 patients were evaluated to delineate the course of the vidian canal and its relationship to the petrous ICA. In all 20 cadaveric dissections and all 25 surgical cases, the vidian artery was consistently identified and could be reliably used as a landmark to the ICA. The correlation between anatomical and clinical data in this paper supports the consistent use of the vidian artery as an important landmark to the petrous ICA.

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Daniel M. Prevedello, Amin B. Kassam, Ricardo L. Carrau, Carl H. Snyderman, Ajith Thomas, Paul Gardner, Arlan Mintz, Lisa Vecchione and Joseph Losee

✓Teratomas are neoplasms composed of tissues from all three germ layers with varying degrees of differentiation. They are most commonly found in the sacrococcygeal and gonadal regions and rarely occur in the head and neck region. A teratoma is termed “epignathus” when it arises from the skull base or hard palate and is located in the oral cavity. The authors describe a case of a giant epignathus teratoma originating in the skull base of a neonate, extending bilaterally via two pedicles throughout the hard palate and protruding through the oral cavity. The tumor was completely resected using a transpalatal endoscopic endonasal approach. The excised tumor proved to be an immature teratoma with well-differentiated yolk sac elements. At the 1-year follow-up the patient showed no evidence of tumor recurrence and the child remains neurologically intact.

This report demonstrates the use of a transpalatal endonasal corridor in a preterm infant. This approach provided an ample corridor into the ventral skull base without the need for external excisions and/or disruption of osseous elements.