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Prospective trial of gross-total resection with Gliadel wafers followed by early postoperative Gamma Knife radiosurgery and conformal fractionated radiotherapy as the initial treatment for patients with radiographically suspected, newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme

L. Fernando Gonzalez and Kris A. Smith

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Iman Feiz-Erfan, L. Fernando Gonzalez and Curtis A. Dickman

✓ The authors describe a new technique of internal atlantooccipital screw fixation involving posterior wiring and fusion for the treatment of traumatic atlantooccipital dislocation, which was performed in a 17-year-old male patient involved in a motor vehicle accident and who suffered from atlantooccipital dislocation without neurological injury. At the 6-month follow-up examination, the patient was neurologically intact with a solid occipitocervical fusion and full range of motion of the neck.

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De novo presentation of an arteriovenous malformation

Case report and review of the literature

L. Fernando Gonzalez, Ruth E. Bristol, Randall W. Porter and Robert F. Spetzler

✓ The authors report the case of a patient with a de novo arteriovenous malformation (AVM), indicating that the origin of these lesions may not always be congenital.

A 3-year-old girl who was struck by a car suffered a mild head injury and experienced posttraumatic epilepsy. The initial magnetic resonance (MR) image obtained in this child revealed only a small contusion in the left frontal lobe. Intractable epilepsy subsequently developed. A second MR image obtained almost 4 years after the injury demonstrated an AVM in the right posterior temporal lobe that was verified using angiography. The lesion was classified as a Spetzler—Martin Grade III AVM. The patient underwent embolization of the feeding vessels followed by gamma knife surgery. Fourteen months after treatment she was asymptomatic. Follow-up MR images demonstrate no evidence of an AVM and no changes in the white matter.

This case presents a de novo AVM that developed within approximately 4 years. The findings indicate that AVMs may not always be congenital and reinforce the concept that the natural history of AVMs is dynamic. Lesions may appear de novo, grow, and thrombose spontaneously.

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Charles J. Prestigiacomo, Matthew J. Gounis, L. Fernando Gonzalez and Juhana Frösen

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L. Fernando Gonzalez, Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, Nicholas C. Bambakidis and Robert F. Spetzler

Posterior circulation lesions constitute approximately 10% of all intracranial aneurysms. Their distribution includes the basilar artery (BA) bifurcation, superior cerebellar artery, posterior inferior cerebellar artery, and anterior inferior cerebellar artery. The specific features of a patient's aneurysm and superb anatomical knowledge help the surgeon to choose the most appropriate approach and to tailor it to the patient's situation. The main principle that must be applied is maximization of bone resection. This allows the surgeon to work within a wider corridor, which facilitates the use of surgical instruments and minimizes retraction of the brain.

The management of aneurysms within the posterior circulation requires expertise in skull base and vascular surgery. Endovascular treatments have become increasingly important, but in this paper the authors focus on the surgical management of these difficult aneurysms. The paper is divided into three parts: the first section is a brief review of the anatomy of the BA; the second part is a review of the techniques associated with the management of posterior fossa aneurysms; and in the third section the authors describe the different approaches, their nuances and indications based on the location of the aneurysm, and its relationship to the surrounding bone (especially the clivus, dorsum sellae, and the free edge of the petrous apex).

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Gregory P. Lekovic, L. Fernando Gonzalez, Vini G. Khurana and Robert F. Spetzler

✓Although cavernous malformations (CMs) are an important cause of intracranial hemorrhage, the natural history of these lesions is controversial. Both retrospective and prospective studies undertaken to define risk factors for hemorrhage from CMs have consistently identified the location of a lesion as a factor that has a significant impact on the rate of rupture, and brainstem CMs consistently have a higher rate of symptomatic hemorrhage than those at other locations. The mechanism underlying this disparity in rupture rates, however, remains obscure. Most authors attribute the difference, at least partially, to the sensitivity of the brainstem to hemorrhage. Regardless, the specific factors that cause a given CM to rupture are unknown.

The authors report their first encounter with an intraoperative rupture of a CM in the brainstem. This case underscores the risks encountered during the surgical approach to brainstem CMs and may provide insight into the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the rupture of these lesions.

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L. Fernando Gonzalez, Jeffrey D. Klopfenstein, Neil R. Crawford, Curtis A. Dickman and Volker K. H. Sonntag

✓ Occipitoatlantal dislocation and atlantoaxial vertical distraction are caused by similar mechanisms, and few individuals survive these injuries. It is hypothesized that the injurious vertical force manifests as a traumatic lesion at different levels of the same ligamentous complex. The authors report the cases of two patients who presented with this combined lesion, describe surgical alternatives for stabilization, and introduce a new technique that combines the use of transarticular screws in a “dual” construct, without involving the unaffected spine.

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L. Fernando Gonzalez, Louis Kim, Harold L. Rekate, Cameron G. Mcdougall and Felipe C. Albuquerque

✓Atrial shunt revision surgeries are sometimes difficult due to venous occlusion and neck scarring. A direct approach guided by venography facilitates exposure and guarantees accurate placement of the distal catheter. Five patients with complicated histories of shunt malfunction were treated using an endoscope-assisted technique. The distal end of an atrial catheter was advanced into the atrium after having been connected to a venous catheter of a slightly smaller diameter than the one previously advanced from the femoral vein through the atrium. Once the position of the atrial catheter was confirmed fluoroscopically, the venous catheter was detached and removed. No complications developed in any patient.

This endoscope-assisted technique offers three advantages: it demonstrates the patency of the jugular vein through venography, facilitates identification of the internal jugular vein in the neck, and provides a quick way to confirm that the distal end of the atrial catheter has been placed correctly. This technique should be considered for use in patients with a history of failed atrial shunts.

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L. Fernando Gonzalez, Dixie L. Patterson, Gregory P. Lekovic, Peter Nakaji and Robert F. Spetzler


The radial artery is a common conduit used for high-flow bypasses. Until now the radial artery has been harvested using a long incision in the forearm that follows the course of the artery. The authors present an endoscopic technique that has been used during coronary bypass surgery but is not yet widespread in the neurosurgical arena.


From October 2006 to October 2007, the authors used the radial artery as a graft in 6 patients during the treatment of complex cerebral aneurysms. The artery was harvested via an endoscopic technique.

The radial artery was exposed distally at the wrist. Using the VasoView vessel harvesting system, the endoscope was inserted into the arm. The radial artery was dissected from its surrounding tissues endoscopically. With direct current energy via the HemoPro device, the side branches were coagulated and cut. The artery was transected at the wrist, then retrieved through a counterincision at the proximal forearm.


There were no neurological or bleeding complications in the hand or forearm.


Endoscopic harvesting of the radial artery is feasible, faster, and produces a more aesthetically pleasing result than standard open harvesting. The learning curve associated with the endoscope can be overcome by practice on cadavers and by collaboration with a cardiac surgical team.

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L. Fernando Gonzalez, Nohra Chalouhi, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, Pascal Jabbour, Aaron S. Dumont and Robert H. Rosenwasser


Multiple approaches have been used to treat carotid-cavernous fistulas (CCFs). The transvenous approach has become a popular and effective route. Onyx is a valuable tool in today's endovascular armamentarium. The authors describe the use of a balloon-assisted technique in the treatment of CCFs with Onyx and assess its feasibility, utility, and safety.


The authors searched their prospectively maintained database for CCFs embolized using Onyx with the assistance of a compliant balloon placed in the internal carotid artery (ICA).


Five patients were treated between July 2009 and July 2011 at the authors' institution. A balloon helped to identify the fistulous point, served as a buttress for coils, protected from inadvertent arterial embolizations, and prevented Onyx and coils from obscuring the ICA during the course of embolization. No balloon-related complications were noted in any of the 5 cases. All 5 fistulas were completely obliterated at the end of the procedure. Four patients had available clinical follow-ups, and all 4 showed reversal of nerve palsies.


Balloon-assisted Onyx embolization of CCFs offers a powerful combination that prevents inadvertent migration of the embolic material into the arterial system, facilitates visualization of the ICA, and serves as a buttress for coils deployed in the cavernous sinus through the fistulous point. Despite adding another layer of technical complexity, an intraarterial balloon can provide valuable assistance in the treatment of CCFs.