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Michel W. Bojanowski, Moujahed Labidi, Nathalie L’Ecuyer and Chiraz Chaalala

Thalamomesencephalic cavernous malformations are located high in the brainstem and may be difficult to reach. We present a case of such a lesion which was successfully approached via the supracerebellar transtentorial route. Our enclosed video provides elements to justify this posterior approach and illustrates the steps required for the cavernoma’s safe removal, which include opening of the tentorium and gentle retraction of the exposed temporal lobe.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/Ex5OfLyBzPY.

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Michel W. Bojanowski, Alexander G. Weil, Nancy McLaughlin, Chiraz Chaalala, Elsa Magro and Jean-Yves Fournier

OBJECT

Blister aneurysms of the supraclinoid part of the internal carotid artery (ICA) are known for their high morbidity and mortality rates related to treatment, regardless of whether the treatment is surgical or endovascular. However, this grim prognosis is based on results that indiscriminately group all blister aneurysms together without taking into account the heterogeneous appearance of these lesions. The goal of this study was 2-fold: to determine whether different blister aneurysm morphologies present different pitfalls, which would then require different surgical strategies, as well as to determine whether there are identifiable subgroups of these types of aneurysms based on morphology.

METHODS

The authors reviewed the charts, cerebral catheter angiograms, surgical reports, and intraoperative videos of all ICA blister aneurysms treated surgically at the Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal from 2005 to 2012 to investigate whether there was a relationship between morphology and pitfalls, and whether different surgical strategies had been used according to these pitfalls. During this review process the authors noted 4 distinct morphological aspects. These 4 aspects led to a review of the English and French literature on blister aneurysms in which imaging was available, to determine whether other cases could also be classified into the same 4 subgroups based on these morphological aspects.

RESULTS

The retrospective review of the authors’ series of 10 patients allowed a division into 4 distinct subtypes: Type I (classic), Type II (berry-like), Type III (longitudinal), and Type IV (circumferential). These subtypes may at times be progressive stages in the arterial anomaly, and could represent a continuum. Each subtype described in this paper presented its own pitfalls and required specific surgical adaptations. Upon reviewing the literature the authors retained 35 studies involving a total of 61 cases of blister aneurysms, and all cases were able to be classified into 1 of these 4 distinct subtypes.

CONCLUSIONS

Although they share some common characteristics, blister aneurysms may be divided into distinct subtypes, suggestive of a continuum. Such a classification with a detailed description of each type of blister aneurysm would allow for better recognition to anticipate complications during intervention and better assess the different treatment strategies according to the subtypes.

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Michel W. Bojanowski, Gunness V. R. Nitish, Gilles El Hage, Kim Lalonde, Chiraz Chaalala and Thomas Robert

Cavernous malformations in the midbrain can be accessed via several safe entry zones. The accepted rule of thumb is to enter at the point where the lesion is visible at the surface of the brainstem to pass through as little normal brain tissue as possible. However, in some cases, in order to avoid critical neural structures, this rule may not apply. A different safe entry zone can be chosen. Our video presents a case of a ruptured cavernous malformation in the midbrain reaching its anterior surface which was successfully resected via a posterolateral route using the supracerebellar infratentorial approach.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/7kt-OQuBmz0.

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Elsa Magro, Jean-Christophe Gentric, André Lima Batista, Marc Kotowski, Chiraz Chaalala, David Roberge, Alain Weill, Christian Stapf, Daniel Roy, Michel W. Bojanowski, Tim E. Darsaut, Ruby Klink and Jean Raymond

OBJECTIVE

The management of brain arteriovenous malformations (bAVMs) remains controversial. The Treatment of Brain AVMs Study (TOBAS) was designed to manage patients with bAVMs within a clinical research framework. The objective of this study was to study trial feasibility, recruitment rates, patient allocation to the various management groups, and compliance with treatment allocation.

METHODS

TOBAS combines two randomized care trials (RCTs) and a registry. Designed to be all-inclusive, the study offers randomized allocation of interventional versus conservative management to patients eligible for both options (first RCT), a second RCT testing the role of preembolization as an adjunct to surgery or radiotherapy, and a registry of patients managed using clinical judgment alone. The primary outcome of the first RCT is death from any cause or disabling stroke (modified Rankin Scale score > 2) at 10 years. A pilot phase was initiated at one center to test study feasibility, record the number and characteristics of patients enrolled in the RCTs, and estimate the frequency of crossovers.

RESULTS

All patients discussed at the multidisciplinary bAVM committee between June 2014 and June 2016 (n = 107) were recruited into the study; 46 in the randomized trials (23 in the first RCT with 21 unruptured bAVMs, 40 in the second RCT with 17 unruptured bAVMs, and 17 in both RCTs), and 61 patients in the registry. Three patients crossed over from surgery to observation (first RCT).

CONCLUSIONS

Clinical research was successfully integrated with normal practice using TOBAS. Recruitment rates in a single center are encouraging. Whether the trial will provide meaningful results depends on the recruitment of a sufficient number of participating centers.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT02098252 (clinicaltrials.gov)