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Fadi Hanbali, Gregory N. Fuller, Norman E. Leeds and Raymond Sawaya

Several types of mass lesions may occur in the third and lateral ventricles. Typically they arise from the lining of the ventricular cavity or from contiguous structures, by extension into the ventricle. The authors describe two patients, each of whom presented with a different rare lesion of the ventricular system. The first was a 53-year-old woman with a history of hypertension who sustained a blunt traumatic injury to the occipital region and subsequently developed a progressively worsening right-sided headache. Radiological examinations over the next 2 years revealed an enlarged right lateral ventricle and, ultimately, a choroid plexus cyst in its anterior and middle third, near the foramen of Monro, which is a rare location for these lesions. The cyst was removed en bloc, and follow-up examinations showed a significant improvement in her headache and a minimal differences in size between right and left ventricles. The authors also describe a 57-year-old man with hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and an old mycardial infarct, who presented to an outside institution with a progressively worsening headache, generalized malaise, and loss of olfactory sensation. Diagnostic imaging revealed a 1.5-cm oval lesion centered in the lamina terminalis region, an open craniotomy was performed, and evaluation of a biopsy sample demonstrated the mass to be a chordoid glioma of the third ventricle, a recently described glioma subtype. Two days after surgery, he suffered a left parietal stroke and an anterior mycardial infarction. After convalescing, he presented to The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center for radiotherapy and follow up; 7 months later he was readmitted complaining of headache, short-term memory loss, and worsening confusion and disorientation. Neuroimaging revealed progression of the tumor (now 2 cm in diameter), which was removed by gross-total resection. His headache resolved immediately, and 2 months later his only complaint was of episodes of confusion. Three weeks later he died of a massive myocardial infarction. These two patients represent the sixth case of an adult with a choroid plexus cyst in the anterior lateral ventricle and the 19th case of an adult with a chordoid glioma of the third ventricle, respectively.

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Jack P. Rock, Stephen Haines, Lawrence Recht, Mark Bernstein, Raymond Sawaya, Tom Mikkelsen and Jay Loeffler

Object

In January 1998 the Guidelines and Outcomes Committee of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) issued a charge for the development of evidence-based practice parameters focusing on the treatment of patients with single metastasis to the brain. The charge was imposed in response to the significant controversy surrounding questions relating to the optimal management strategies for patients with single brain metastasis.

Methods

A team consisting of physicians from the AANS, the American Academy of Neurology, and the American Association of Therapeutic Radiation Oncology convened and the literature was reviewed. Methodically drawing from the best of Class I, II, and III levels of available evidence, authors sought to determine how the literature addressed and disposed of the question of the optimal management for an adult with a known history of cancer and a single meta-static brain lesion. Framing the question in this specific manner allowed researchers to focus directly on treatment issues, without having to consider diagnostic issues.

Conclusions

The results of the evidence-based analysis demonstrated that there was insufficient information to establish standards of care. Data from the literature does, however, support a guideline stating that surgical resection accompanied by whole brain radiation therapy is associated with the best survival rate. Additional lower-quality evidence supports an option for management with radiosurgery.

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Ziya L. Gokaslan, Julie E. York, Garrett L. Walsh, Ian E. McCutcheon, Frederick F. Lang, Joe B. Putnam Jr., David M. Wildrick, Stephen G. Swisher, Dima Abi-Said and Raymond Sawaya

Anterior approaches to the spine for the treatment of spinal tumors have gained acceptance; however, in most published reports, patients with primary, metastatic, or chest wall tumors involving cervical, thoracic, or lumbar regions of the spine are combined. The purpose of this study was to provide a clear perspective of results that can be expected in patients who undergo anterior vertebral body resection, reconstruction, and stabilization for spinal metastases that are limited to the thoracic region.

Outcome is presented for 72 patients with metastatic spinal tumors who were treated by transthoracic vertebrectomy at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. The predominant primary tumors included renal cancer in 19 patients, breast cancer in 10, melanoma or sarcoma in 10, and lung cancer in nine patients. The most common presenting symptoms were back pain, which occurred in 90% of patients, and lower-extremity weakness, which occurred in 64% of patients. All patients underwent transthoracic vertebrectomy, decompression, reconstruction with methylmethacrylate, and anterior fixation with locking plate and screw constructs. Supplemental posterior instrumentation was required in seven patients with disease involving the cervicothoracic or thoracolumbar junction, which was causing severe kyphosis. After surgery, pain improved in 60 of 65 patients. This improvement was found to be statistically significant (p < 0.001) based on visual analog scales and narcotic analgesic medication use. Thirty-five of the 46 patients who presented with neurological dysfunction improved significantly (p < 0.001) following the procedure. Thirty-three patients had weakness but could ambulate preoperatively. Seventeen of these 33 regained normal strength, 15 patients continued to have weakness, and one patient was neurologically worse postoperatively. Of the 13 preoperatively nonambulatory patients, 10 could walk after surgery and three were still unable to walk but showed improved motor function. Twenty-one patients had complications ranging from minor atelectasis to pulmonary embolism. The 30-day mortality rate was 3%. The 1-year survival rate for the entire study population was 62%.

These results suggest that transthoracic vertebrectomy and spinal stabilization can improve the quality of life considerably in cancer patients with spinal metastasis by restoring or preserving ambulation and by controlling intractable spinal pain with acceptable rates of morbidity and mortality.