Hussam Metwali, Venelin Gerganov and Rudolf Fahlbusch
Preservation of the pituitary stalk and its vasculature is a key step in good postoperative endocrinological outcome in patients with craniopharyngiomas. In this article, the authors describe the surgical technique of medial optic nerve mobilization for better inspection and preservation of the pituitary stalk.
This operative technique has been applied in 3 patients. Following tumor exposure via a frontolateral approach, the pituitary stalk could be seen partially hidden under the optic nerve and the optic chiasm. The subchiasmatic and opticocarotid spaces were narrow, and tumor dissection from the pituitary stalk under direct vision was not possible. The optic canal was therefore unroofed, the falciform ligament was incised, and the lateral part of the tuberculum sellae was drilled medial to the optic nerve. The optic nerve could be mobilized medially to widen the opticocarotid triangle, which enhanced visualization of and access to the pituitary stalk.
By using the optic nerve mobilization technique, the tumor could be removed completely, and the pituitary stalk and its vasculature were preserved in all patients. In 2 patients, vision improved after surgery, while in 1 patient it remained normal, as it was before surgery. The hormonal status remained normal after surgery in 2 patients. In the patient with preoperative hormonal deficiencies, improvement occurred early after surgery and hormonal levels were normal after 3 months. No approach-related complications occurred.
This early experience shows that this technique is safe and could be used as a complementary step during microsurgery of craniopharyngiomas. It allows for tumor dissection from the pituitary stalk under direct vision. The pituitary stalk can thus be preserved without jeopardizing the optic nerve.
Madjid Samii, Hussam Metwali and Venelin Gerganov
The aim of this study was to analyze the efficacy and risks of microsurgery via the hearing-preserving retrosigmoid approach in patients with intracanalicular vestibular schwannoma (VS) suffering from disabling vestibular symptoms, with special attention to vertigo.
This is a retrospective analysis of 19 patients with intracanalicular VS and disabling vestibular dysfunction as the main or only symptom (Group A). All of the patients reported having had disabling vertigo attacks. Subjective evaluation of the impairment of patients was performed before surgery, 3 weeks after surgery, 3 months after surgery, and 1 year after surgery, using the Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI). The main outcome measures were improvement in quality of life as measured using the DHI, and general and functional outcomes, in particular facial function and hearing. Patient age, preoperative tumor size, preoperative DHI score, and preservation of the nontumorous vestibular nerve were tested using a multivariate regression analysis to determine factors affecting the postoperative DHI score. The Mann-Whitney U-test was used to compare the postoperative DHI score at 3 weeks, 3 months, and 1 year after surgery with a control group of 19 randomly selected patients with intracanalicular VSs, who presented without vestibular symptoms (Group B). The occurrence of early postoperative discrete vertigo attacks was also compared between groups.
The preoperative DHI score was ≥ 54 in all patients. All patients reported having had disabling rotational vertigo before surgery. The only significant factor to affect the DHI outcome 3 weeks and 3 months after surgery was the preoperative DHI score. The DHI outcome after 1 year was not affected by the preoperative DHI score. Compared with the control group, the DHI score at 3 weeks and 3 months after surgery was significantly worse. There was no significant difference between the groups after 1 year. Vertigo was improved in all patients and completely resolved after 1 year in 17 patients.
Disabling vestibular dysfunction that affects quality of life should be considered an indication for surgery, even in otherwise asymptomatic patients with intracanalicular VS. Surgical removal of the tumor is safe and very effective in regard to symptom relief. All patients had excellent facial nerve function within 1 year after surgery, with a very good chance of hearing preservation.
Madjid Samii, Hussam Metwali and Venelin Gerganov
Microsurgical treatment of recurrent vestibular schwannoma (VS) is difficult and poses specific challenges. The authors report their experience with 53 cases of surgically treated recurrent VS. Outcome of these tumors was compared to that of primarily operated on VS. Special attention was given to the facial nerve functional outcome.
A retrospective analysis was performed of the patients who underwent surgery for recurrent VS at one institution from 2000 to 2013. The preoperative data, intraoperative findings, and outcome in terms of facial nerve function and improvement of the preoperative symptoms were analyzed and compared with those in a control group of 30 randomly selected patients with primarily operated on VS. A multivariate regression analysis was performed to test the factors that could affect the facial nerve outcome in each group.
Fifty-three consecutive patients underwent surgery for recurrent VS. Seventeen patients were previously operated on and received postoperative radiosurgery (Group A). Thirty-six patients were previously operated on but did not receive postoperative radiosurgery (Group B). The overall postoperative facial nerve function was significantly worse in Groups A and B in comparison with the control group (Group C). Interestingly, there was no significant difference in the facial nerve outcome among the 3 groups in patients who had good preoperative facial nerve function. The tumor size and the preoperative facial nerve function are variables that significantly affect the facial nerve outcome. Most of the patients showed improvement of the preoperative symptoms, such as trigeminal hypesthesia, gait disturbance, and headache.
Complete microsurgical tumor removal is the optimal management for patients with recurrent or regrowing VS. The procedure is safe, associated with favorable facial nerve outcome, and may also improve existing neurological symptoms.
Hussam Metwali, Katja Kniese, Babak Kardavani, Venelin Gerganov and Madjid Samii
The purpose of this prospective study was to evaluate the dysfunction of the nervus intermedius (NI) after vestibular schwannoma (VS) surgery. The authors present a clinically feasible method for this purpose.
In this prospective study, the authors included 30 patients who underwent surgery at the International Neuroscience Institute between May 2014 and February 2017 for resection of VS. The patients’ taste sensation was examined using taste strips. Lacrimation was tested using the Schirmer I test. The clinical evaluation was performed before surgery and repeated at 2 weeks and at 6 months after surgery as well as during the follow-up, which extended up to 2 years. The authors tested the correlation between the NI dysfunctions and the House-Brackmann grade of facial nerve palsy.
The taste sensation was lost on the side of surgery in 2 patients (6.6%) and decreased in 4 patients (13.3%). The disturbance of taste sensation was not statistically correlated with dysfunctions of the motor portion of the facial nerve. The taste impairment resolved in 4 patients within 6 months, but 2 patients suffered from persistent loss of the taste sensation on the side of surgery during the follow-up. In 23 patients (76.6%), the baseline lacrimation was lower on the side of surgery, and it was significantly correlated with outcome for dysfunctions of the motor portion of the facial nerve. During the follow-up, baseline lacrimation improved in correlation with the improvement in the dysfunctions of the motor portion of the facial nerve. None of the patients reported change in salivation or nasal secretion.
The NI can be affected after VS surgery. The disturbance of baseline lacrimal secretion was correlated with dysfunctions of the motor portion of the facial nerve. However, the disturbance of the taste sensation was not correlated with the grade of facial nerve palsy. Dysfunctions of the NI should be evaluated and separately reported while analyzing facial nerve outcome after VS surgery.
Venelin Gerganov, Hussam Metwali, Amir Samii, Rudolf Fahlbusch and Madjid Samii
An extensive craniopharyngioma is a tumor that extends into multiple compartments (subarachnoid spaces) and attains a size larger than 4 cm. A wide spectrum of approaches and strategies has been used for resection of such craniopharyngiomas. In this report the authors focused on the feasibility and efficacy of microsurgical resection of extensive craniopharyngiomas using a frontolateral approach.
A retrospective analysis was performed on 16 patients with extensive craniopharyngiomas who underwent operations using a frontolateral approach at one institution. The preoperative and postoperative clinical and radiological data, as well as the operative videos, were reviewed. The main focus of the review was the extent of radical tumor removal, early postoperative outcome, and approach-related complications.
Gross-total resection of craniopharyngioma was achieved in 14 (87.5%) of 16 cases. Early after surgery (within 3 months), 1 patient showed improvement in hormonal status, while in the remaining 15 patients it worsened. No major neurological morbidity was observed. Two patients experienced temporary psychotic disorders. Visual function improved in 6 patients and remained unchanged in 9. One patient experienced a new bitemporal hemianopsia. Three patients with features of short-term memory disturbances at presentation did show improvement after surgery. There were no deaths or significant approach-related morbidity in this patient series. Only 1 patient required revision surgery for a CSF leak.
The safe and simple frontolateral approach provides adequate access even to extensive craniopharyngiomas and enables their complete removal with a reasonable morbidity and approach-related complication rate.