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  • Author or Editor: Christopher Michael x
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Maria Peris-Celda, Avital Perry, Lucas P. Carlstrom, Christopher S. Graffeo, Colin L. W. Driscoll and Michael J. Link


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.


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.


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.


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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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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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


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.


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.


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.


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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Jason P. Sheehan, Shota Tanaka, Michael J. Link, Bruce E. Pollock, Douglas Kondziolka, David Mathieu, Christopher Duma, A. Byron Young, Anthony M. Kaufmann, Heyoung McBride, Peter A. Weisskopf, Zhiyuan Xu, Hideyuki Kano, Huai-che Yang and L. Dade Lunsford


Glomus tumors are rare skull base neoplasms that frequently involve critical cerebrovascular structures and lower cranial nerves. Complete resection is often difficult and may increase cranial nerve deficits. Stereotactic radiosurgery has gained an increasing role in the management of glomus tumors. The authors of this study examine the outcomes after radiosurgery in a large, multicenter patient population.


Under the auspices of the North American Gamma Knife Consortium, 8 Gamma Knife surgery centers that treat glomus tumors combined their outcome data retrospectively. One hundred thirty-four patient procedures were included in the study (134 procedures in 132 patients, with each procedure being analyzed separately). Prior resection was performed in 51 patients, and prior fractionated external beam radiotherapy was performed in 6 patients. The patients' median age at the time of radiosurgery was 59 years. Forty percent had pulsatile tinnitus at the time of radiosurgery. The median dose to the tumor margin was 15 Gy. The median duration of follow-up was 50.5 months (range 5–220 months).


Overall tumor control was achieved in 93% of patients at last follow-up; actuarial tumor control was 88% at 5 years postradiosurgery. Absence of trigeminal nerve dysfunction at the time of radiosurgery (p = 0.001) and higher number of isocenters (p = 0.005) were statistically associated with tumor progression–free tumor survival. Patients demonstrating new or progressive cranial nerve deficits were also likely to demonstrate tumor progression (p = 0.002). Pulsatile tinnitus improved in 49% of patients who reported it at presentation. New or progressive cranial nerve deficits were noted in 15% of patients; improvement in preexisting cranial nerve deficits was observed in 11% of patients. No patient died as a result of tumor progression.


Gamma Knife surgery was a well-tolerated management strategy that provided a high rate of long-term glomus tumor control. Symptomatic tinnitus improved in almost one-half of the patients. Overall neurological status and cranial nerve function were preserved or improved in the vast majority of patients after radiosurgery.

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Oral Presentations

2010 AANS Annual Meeting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 1–5, 2010