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Avital Perry, Thomas J. Sorenson, Christopher S. Graffeo, Colin L. Driscoll and Michael J. Link

Cavernous malformations (CMs) are low-pressure, focal, vascular lesions that may occur within the brainstem and require treatment, which can be a substantial challenge. Herein, we demonstrate the surgical resection of a hemorrhaged brainstem CM through a posterior petrosectomy approach. After dissection of the overlying vascular and meningeal structures, a safe entry zone into the brainstem is identified based on local anatomy and intraoperative neuronavigation. Small ultrasound probes can also be useful for obtaining real-time intraoperative feedback. The CM is internally debulked and resected in a piecemeal fashion through an opening smaller than the CM itself. As brainstem CMs are challenging lesions, knowledge of several surgical nuances and adoption of careful microsurgical techniques are requisite for success.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/szB6YpzkuCo.

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Avital Perry, Christopher S. Graffeo, Waleed Brinjikji, William R. Copeland III, Alejandro A. Rabinstein and Michael J. Link

Spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) is an uncommon headache etiology, typically attributable to an unprovoked occult spinal CSF leak. Although frequently benign, serious complications may occur, including cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT). The objective of this study was to examine a highly complicated case of CVT attributable to SIH as a lens for understanding the heterogeneous literature on this rare complication, and to provide useful, evidence-based, preliminary clinical recommendations. A 43-year-old man presented with 1 week of headache, dizziness, and nausea, which precipitously evolved to hemiplegia. CT venography confirmed CVT, and therapeutic heparin was initiated. He suffered a generalized seizure due to left parietal hemorrhage, which subsequently expanded. He developed signs of mass effect and herniation, heparin was discontinued, and he was taken to the operating room for clot evacuation and external ventricular drain placement. Intraoperatively, the dura was deflated, suggesting underlying SIH. Ventral T-1 CSF leak was identified, which failed multiple epidural blood patches and required primary repair. The patient ultimately made a complete recovery. Systematic review identified 29 publications describing 36 cases of SIH-associated CVT. Among 31 patients for whom long-term neurological outcome was reported, 25 (81%) recovered completely. Underlying coagulopathy/risk factors were identified in 11 patients (31%). CVT is a rare and potentially lethal sequela occurring in 2% of SIH cases. Awareness of the condition is poor, risking morbid complications. Evaluation and treatment should be directed toward identification and treatment of occult CSF leaks. Encouragingly, good neurological outcomes can be achieved through vigilant multidisciplinary neurosurgical and neurocritical care.

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Hirokazu Takami, Christoph M. Prummer, Christopher S. Graffeo, Maria Peris-Celda, Caterina Giannini, Colin L. Driscoll and Michael J. Link

Glioblastoma (GBM) of the internal auditory canal (IAC) is exceedingly rare, with only 3 prior cases reported in the literature. The authors present the fourth case of cerebellopontine angle (CPA) and IAC GBM, and the first in which the lesion mimicked a vestibular schwannoma (VS) early in its natural history. A 55-year-old man presented with tinnitus, hearing loss, and imbalance. MRI identified a left IAC/CPA lesion measuring 8 mm, most consistent with a benign VS. Over the subsequent 4 months he developed facial weakness. The tumor grew remarkably to 24 mm and surgery was recommended; the main preoperative diagnosis was malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST). Resection proceeded via a translabyrinthine approach with resection of cranial nerves VII and VIII, followed by facial-hypoglossal nerve anastomosis. Intraoperative frozen section suggested malignant spindle cell neoplasm, but final histopathological and molecular testing confirmed the lesion to be a GBM. The authors report the first case in which absence of any brainstem interface effectively excluded a primary parenchymal tumor, in particular GBM, from the differential diagnosis. Given the dramatic differences in treatment and prognoses between malignant glioma and MPNST, this case emphasizes the importance of surgical intervention on an aggressively growing lesion, which provides both the best probability of local control and the critical tissue diagnosis.

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Avital Perry, Christopher S. Graffeo, Lucas P. Carlstrom, William J. Anding, Michael J. Link and Leonardo Rangel-Castilla

OBJECTIVE

Sylvian fissure dissection following subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a challenging but fundamental skill in microneurosurgery, and one that has become increasingly difficult to develop during residency, given the overarching management trends. The authors describe a novel rodent model for simulation of sylvian fissure dissection and cerebrovascular bypass under SAH conditions.

METHODS

A standardized microvascular anastomosis model comprising rat femoral arteries and veins was used for the experimental framework. In the experimental protocol, following exposure and skeletonization of the vessels, extensive, superficial (1- to 2-mm) soft-tissue debridement was conducted and followed by wound closure and delayed reexploration at intervals of 7, 14, and 28 days. Two residents dissected 1 rat each per time point (n = 6 rats), completing vessel skeletonization followed by end-to-end artery/vein anastomoses. Videos were reviewed postprocedure to assess scar score and relative difficulty of dissection by blinded raters using 4-point Likert scales.

RESULTS

At all time points, vessels were markedly invested in friable scar, and exposure was subjectively assessed as a reasonable surrogate for sylvian fissure dissection under SAH conditions. Scar score and relative difficulty of dissection both indicated 14 days as the most challenging time point.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ experimental model of femoral vessel skeletonization, circumferential superficial soft-tissue injury, and delayed reexploration provides a novel approximation of sylvian fissure dissection and cerebrovascular bypass under SAH conditions. The optimal reexploration interval appears to be 7–14 days. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first model of SAH simulation for microsurgical training, particularly in a live animal system.

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Satoshi Kiyofuji, Amanda M. Casabella, Christopher S. Graffeo, Avital Perry, James A. Garrity and Michael J. Link

OBJECTIVE

Sphenoorbital meningioma (SOM) is a unique skull base tumor, characterized by infiltrative involvement and hyperostosis primarily of the lesser wing of sphenoid bone, with frequent involvement of the orbital compartment. SOM often manifests with proptosis and visual impairment. Surgical technique and outcome are highly variable among studies reported in the literature. The authors present a single-surgeon experience with SOM.

METHODS

A retrospective review of a prospectively maintained institutional database was performed. A blinded imaging review by 2 study team members was completed to confirm SOM, after which chart review was carried out to capture demographics and outcomes. All statistical testing was completed using JMP Pro version 14.1.0, with significance defined as p < 0.05.

RESULTS

Forty-seven patients who underwent surgery between 2000 and 2017 were included. The median age at surgery was 47 years (range 36–70 years), 81% of patients were female, and the median follow-up was 43 months (range 0–175 months). All operations were performed via a frontotemporal craniotomy, orbitooptic osteotomy, and anterior clinoidectomy, with extensive resection of all involved bone and soft tissue. Preoperatively, proptosis was noted in 44 patients, 98% of whom improved. Twenty-eight patients (60%) had visual deficits before surgery, 21 (75%) of whom improved during follow-up. Visual field defect other than a central scotoma was the only prognostic factor for improvement in vision on multivariate analysis (p = 0.0062). Nine patients (19%) had recurrence or progression during follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

SOM is a unique skull base tumor that needs careful planning to optimize outcome. Aggressive removal of involved bone and periorbita is crucial, and proptosis and visual field defect other than a central scotoma can improve after surgery.

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Maria Peris-Celda, Avital Perry, Lucas P. Carlstrom, Christopher S. Graffeo, Colin L. W. Driscoll and Michael J. Link

OBJECTIVE

Middle fossa surgery is challenging, and reliable surgical landmarks are essential to perform accurate and safe surgery. Although many descriptions of the middle fossa components have been published, a clinically practical description of this very complex anatomical region is lacking. Small structure arrangements in this area are often not well visualized or accurately demarcated with neuronavigation systems. The objective is to describe a “roadmap” of key surgical reference points and landmarks during middle fossa surgery to help the surgeon predict where critical structures will be located.

METHODS

The authors studied 40 dry skulls (80 sides) obtained from the anatomical board at their institution. Measurements of anatomical structures in the middle fossa were made with a digital caliper and a protractor, taking as reference the middle point of the external auditory canal (MEAC). The results were statistically analyzed.

RESULTS

The petrous part of the temporal bone was found at a mean of 16 mm anterior and 24 mm posterior to the MEAC. In 87% and 99% of the sides, the foramen ovale and foramen spinosum, respectively, were encountered deep to the zygomatic root. The posterior aspect of the greater superficial petrosal nerve (GSPN) groove was a mean of 6 mm anterior and 25 mm medial to the MEAC, nearly parallel to the petrous ridge. The main axis of the IAC projected to the root of the zygoma in all cases. The internal auditory canal (IAC) porus was found 5.5 mm lateral and 4.5 mm deep to the lateral aspect of the trigeminal impression along the petrous ridge (mean measurement values). A projection from this point to the middle aspect of the root of the zygoma, being posterior to the GSPN groove, could estimate the orientation of the IAC.

CONCLUSIONS

In middle fossa approaches, the external acoustic canal is a reliable reference before skin incision, whereas the zygomatic root becomes important after the skin incision. Deep structures can be related to these 2 anatomical structures. An easy method to predict the location of the IAC in surgery is described. Careful study of the preoperative imaging is essential to adapt this knowledge to the individual anatomy of the patient.

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Lucas P. Carlstrom, Jeffrey T. Jacob, Christopher S. Graffeo, Avital Perry, Michael S. Oldenburg, Robert L. Foote, Bruce E. Pollock, Colin L. Driscoll, Matthew L. Carlson and Michael J. Link

OBJECTIVE

Radiation dose to the cochlea has been proposed as a key prognostic factor in hearing preservation following stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for vestibular schwannoma (VS). However, understanding of the predictive value of cochlear dose on hearing outcomes following SRS for patients with non-VS tumors of the lateral skull base (LSB) is incomplete. The authors investigated rates of hearing loss following high-dose SRS in patients with LSB non-VS lesions compared with patients with VS.

METHODS

Patients with LSB meningioma or jugular paraganglioma and serviceable pretreatment hearing who underwent SRS treatment during 2007–2016 and received a modiolus dose > 5 Gy were included in a retrospective cohort study, along with a similarly identified control group of consecutive patients with sporadic VS.

RESULTS

Sixteen patients with non-VS tumors and a control group of 43 patients with VS met study criteria. Serviceable hearing, defined as American Academy of Otololaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery class A/B, was maintained in 13 non-VS versus 23 VS patients (81% vs 56%, p = 0.07). All 3 instances of hearing loss in non-VS patients were observed in cerebellopontine angle (CPA) meningiomas. Non-VS with preserved hearing had a median modiolus dose of 6.9 Gy (range 5.7–19.2 Gy), versus 7.4 Gy (range 5.4–7.6 Gy) in those patients with post-SRS hearing loss (p = 0.53). Sporadic VS patients received an overall median modiolus point-dose of 6.8 Gy (range 5.4–11.7 Gy).

CONCLUSIONS

The modiolus dose threshold of 5 Gy does not predict hearing loss in patients with non-VS tumors undergoing SRS, suggesting that dosimetric parameters derived from VS may not be applicable to this population. Differential rates of hearing loss appear to vary by pathology, with paragangliomas and petroclival meningiomas demonstrating decreased risk of hearing loss compared to CPA meningiomas that may directly compress the cochlear nerve similarly to VS.

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Matthew L. Carlson, Øystein Vesterli Tveiten, Colin L. Driscoll, Christopher J. Boes, Molly J. Sullan, Frederik K. Goplen, Morten Lund-Johansen and Michael J. Link

OBJECT

The primary goals of this study were: 1) to examine the influence of disease and treatment on headache in patients with sporadic vestibular schwannoma (VS); and 2) to identify clinical predictors of long-term headache disability.

METHODS

This was a cross-sectional observational study with international multicenter enrollment. Patients included those with primary sporadic < 3-cm VS and a separate group of general population control subjects without tumors. Interventions included a postal survey incorporating the Headache Disability Inventory (HDI), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and a VS symptom questionnaire. The main outcome measures were univariate and multivariable associations with HDI total score.

RESULTS

The overall survey response rate was 79%. Data from 538 patients with VS were analyzed. The mean age at time of survey was 64 years, 56% of patients were female, and the average duration between treatment and survey was 7.7 years. Twenty-seven percent of patients received microsurgery, 46% stereotactic radiosurgery, and 28% observation. Patients with VS who were managed with observation were more than twice as likely to have severe headache disability compared with 103 control subjects without VS. When accounting for baseline differences, there was no statistically significant difference in HDI outcome between treatment modalities at time of survey. Similarly, among the microsurgery cohort, the long-term risk of severe headache disability was not different between surgical approaches. Multivariable regression demonstrated that younger age, greater anxiety and depression, and a preexisting diagnosis of headache were the primary predictors of severe long-term headache disability, while tumor size and treatment modality had little influence.

CONCLUSIONS

At a mean of almost 8 years following treatment, approximately half of patients with VS experience headaches of varying frequency and severity. Patient-driven factors including age, sex, mental health, and preexisting headache syndrome are the strongest predictors of long-term severe headache disability. Tumor size and treatment modality have less impact. These data may assist with patient counseling regarding long-term expectations following diagnosis and treatment.

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Maria Peris-Celda, Soliman Oushy, Avital Perry, Christopher S. Graffeo, Lucas P. Carlstrom, Richard S. Zimmerman, Fredric B. Meyer, Bruce E. Pollock and Michael J. Link

OBJECTIVE

Geniculate neuralgia (GN) is an uncommon craniofacial pain syndrome attributable to nervus intermedius (NI) dysfunction. Diagnosis and treatment can be challenging, due to the complex nature of ear sensory innervation, resulting in clinical overlap with trigeminal neuralgia (TN) and glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GPN).

METHODS

A retrospective review of a prospective neurosurgical database at our institution was performed, 2000–2017, with a corresponding systematic literature review. Pain outcomes were dichotomized as unfavorable for unchanged/worsened symptoms versus favorable if improved/resolved. Eight formalin-fixed brains were examined to describe NI at the brainstem.

RESULTS

Eleven patients were surgically treated for GN—9 primary, 2 reoperations. The median age was 48, 7 patients were female, and the median follow-up was 11 months (range 3–143). Seven had ≥ 2 probable cranial neuralgias. NI was sectioned in 9 and treated via microvascular decompression (MVD) in 2. Five patients underwent simultaneous treatment for TN (4 MVD; 1 rhizotomy) and 5 for GPN (3 MVD; 2 rhizotomy). Eleven reported symptomatic improvement (100%); 8 initially reported complete resolution (73%). Pain outcomes at last contact were favorable in 8 (73%)—all among the 9 primary operations (89% vs 0%, p = 0.054). Six prior series reported outcomes in 111 patients.

CONCLUSIONS

GN is rare, and diagnosis is confounded by symptomatic overlap with TN/GPN. Directed treatment of all possible neuralgias improved pain control in almost all primary operations. Repeat surgery seems a risk factor for an unfavorable outcome. NI is adherent to superomedial VIII at the brainstem; the intermediate/cisternal portion is optimal for visualization and sectioning.

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Avital Perry, Christopher S. Graffeo, Lucas P. Carlstrom, Aditya Raghunathan, Colin L. W. Driscoll, Brian A. Neff, Matthew L. Carlson, Ian F. Parney, Michael J. Link and Jamie J. Van Gompel

OBJECTIVE

Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) have been implicated as pathologic actors in phenotypically aggressive vestibular schwannoma (VS), potentially mediated via programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1). The authors hypothesized that PD-L1 is a key regulator of the VS immune microenvironment.

METHODS

Forty-six consecutive, radiation-naïve, sporadic VSs that were subtotally resected at primary surgery were assessed via immunohistochemical analysis, including analysis of CD163 and PD-L1 expression. Pathologic data were correlated with clinical endpoints, including tumor control, facial nerve function, and complications.

RESULTS

Baseline parameters were equivalent between stable and progressive post–subtotal resection (STR) VS. CD163 percent positivity and M2 index were significantly increased among tumors that remained stable (34% vs 21%, p = 0.02; 1.13 vs 0.99, p = 0.0008), as well as patients with favorable House-Brackmann grade I or II facial nerve function (31% vs 13%, p = 0.04; 1.11 vs 0.97, p = 0.05). PD-L1 percent positivity was significantly associated with tumor progression (1% vs 11%, p = 0.01) and unfavorable House-Brackmann grade III–VI facial nerve function (1% vs 38%, p = 0.02). On multivariate analysis, PD-L1 was independently significant in all models (likelihood ratio 4.4, p = 0.04), while CD163 was dependent in all iterations.

CONCLUSIONS

In contrast to prior reports, in this study, the authors observed significantly increased levels of M1, CD163+ TAMs in association with VS that progressed after STR. Progressive tumors are characterized by increased PD-L1, potentially highlighting a mechanism of immune evasion that results in TAM deactivation, tumor growth, and further infiltration of anti-tumor immune cells. Targeting PD-1/PD-L1 may offer therapeutic promise, particularly in the setting of disease control after STR.