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Chirag R. Patel, Eric W. Wang, Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Paul A. Gardner and Carl H. Snyderman

OBJECTIVE

The endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) has been shown to be an effective means of accessing lesions of the petrous apex. Lesions that are lateral to the paraclival segment of the internal carotid artery (ICA) require lateralization of the paraclival segment of the ICA or a transpterygoid infrapetrous approach. In this study the authors studied the feasibility of adding a contralateral transmaxillary (CTM) corridor to provide greater access to the petrous apex with decreased need for manipulation of the ICA.

METHODS

Using image guidance, EEA and CTM extension were performed bilaterally on 5 cadavers. The anterior wall of the sphenoid sinus and rostrum were removed. The angle of the surgical approach from the axis of the petrous segment of the ICA was measured. Five illustrative clinical cases are presented.

RESULTS

The CTM corridor required a partial medial maxillectomy. When measured from the axis of the petrous ICA, the CTM corridor decreased the angle from 44.8° ± 2.78° to 20.1° ± 4.31°, a decrease of 24.7° ± 2.58°. Drilling through the CTM corridor allowed the drill to reach lateral aspects of the petrous apex that would have required lateralization of the ICA or would not have been accessible via EEA. The CTM corridor allowed us to achieve gross-total resection of the petrous apex region in 5 clinical cases with significant paraclival extension.

CONCLUSIONS

The CTM corridor is a feasible extension to the standard EEA to the petrous apex that offers a more lateral trajectory with improved access. This approach may reduce the risk and morbidity associated with manipulation of the paraclival ICA.

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Salomon Cohen-Cohen, Paul A. Gardner, Joao T. Alves-Belo, Huy Q. Truong, Carl H. Snyderman, Eric W. Wang and Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda

OBJECTIVE

Pituitary adenomas often invade the medial wall of the cavernous sinus (CS), but this structure is generally not surgically removed because of the risk of vascular and cranial nerve injury. The purpose of this study was to report the surgical outcomes in a large series of cases of invasive pituitary adenoma in which the medial wall of the CS was selectively removed following an anatomically based, stepwise surgical technique.

METHODS

The authors’ institutional database was reviewed to identify cases of pituitary adenoma with isolated invasion of the medial wall, based on an intraoperative evaluation, in which patients underwent an endoscopic endonasal approach with selective resection of the medial wall of the CS. Cases with CS invasion beyond the medial wall were excluded. Patient complications, resection, and remission rates were assessed.

RESULTS

Fifty patients were eligible for this study, 15 (30%) with nonfunctional adenomas and 35 (70%) with functional adenomas, including 16 growth hormone–, 10 prolactin-, and 9 adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)–secreting tumors. The average tumor size was 2.3 cm for nonfunctional and 1.3 cm for functional adenomas. Radiographically, 11 cases (22%) were Knosp grade 1, 23 (46%) Knosp grade 2, and 16 (32%) Knosp grade 3. Complete tumor resection, based on intraoperative impression and postoperative MRI, was achieved in all cases. The mean follow-up was 30 months (range 4–64 months) for patients with functional adenomas and 16 months (range 4–30 months) for those with nonfunctional adenomas. At last follow-up, complete biochemical remission (using current criteria) without adjuvant treatment was seen in 34 cases (97%) of functional adenoma. No imaging recurrences were seen in patients who had nonfunctional adenomas. A total of 57 medial walls were removed in 50 patients. Medial wall invasion was histologically confirmed in 93% of nonfunctional adenomas and 83% of functional adenomas. There were no deaths or internal carotid artery injuries, and the average blood loss was 378 ml. Four patients (8%) developed a new, transient cranial nerve palsy, and 2 of these patients required reoperation for blood clot evacuation and fat graft removal. There were no permanent cranial nerve palsies.

CONCLUSIONS

The medial wall of the CS can be removed safely and effectively, with minimal morbidity and excellent resection and remission rates. Further follow-up is needed to determine the long-term results of this anatomically based technique, which should only be performed by very experienced endonasal skull base teams.

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Nathan T. Zwagerman, Eric W. Wang, Samuel S. Shin, Yue-Fang Chang, Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Carl H. Snyderman and Paul A. Gardner

OBJECTIVE

Based on a null hypothesis that the use of short-term lumbar drainage (LD) after endoscopic endonasal surgery (EES) for intradural pathology does not prevent postoperative CSF leaks, a trial was conducted to assess the effect of postoperative LD on postoperative CSF leak following standard reconstruction.

METHODS

A prospective, randomized controlled trial of lumbar drain placement after endoscopic endonasal skull base surgery was performed from February 2011 to March 2015. All patients had 3-month follow-up data. Surgeons were blinded to which patients would or would not receive the drain until after closure was completed. An a priori power analysis calculation assuming 80% of power, 5% postoperative CSF leak rate in the no-LD group, and 16% in the LD group determined a planned sample size of 186 patients. A routine data and safety check was performed with every 50 patients being recruited to ensure the efficacy of randomization and safety. These interim tests were run by a statistician who was not blinded to the arms they were evaluating. This study accrued 230 consecutive adult patients with skull base pathology who were eligible for endoscopic endonasal resection. Inclusion criteria (high-flow leak) were dural defect greater than 1 cm2 (mandatory), extensive arachnoid dissection, and/or dissection into a ventricle or cistern. Sixty patients were excluded because they did not meet the inclusion criteria. One hundred seventy patients were randomized to either receive or not receive a lumbar drain.

RESULTS

One hundred seventy patients were randomized, with a mean age of 51.6 years (range 19–86 years) and 38% were male. The mean BMI for the entire cohort was 28.1 kg/m2. The experimental cohort with postoperative LD had an 8.2% rate of CSF leak compared to a 21.2% rate in the control group (odds ratio 3.0, 95% confidence interval 1.2–7.6, p = 0.017). In 106 patients in whom defect size was measured intraoperatively, a larger defect was associated with postoperative CSF leak (6.2 vs 2.9 cm2, p = 0.03). No significant difference was identified in BMI between those with (mean 28.4 ± 4.3 kg/m2) and without (mean 28.1 ± 5.6 kg/m2) postoperative CSF leak (p = 0.79). Furthermore, when patients were grouped based on BMI < 25, 25–29.9, and > 30 kg/m2, no difference was noted in the rates of CSF fistula (p = 0.97).

CONCLUSIONS

Among patients undergoing intradural EES judged to be at high risk for CSF leak as defined by the study’s inclusion criteria, perioperative LD used in the context of vascularized nasoseptal flap closure significantly reduced the rate of postoperative CSF leaks.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT03163134 (clinicaltrials.gov).

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Maria Koutourousiou, Paul A. Gardner, Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Alessandro Paluzzi, Eric W. Wang and Carl H. Snyderman

Object

Giant pituitary adenomas (> 4 cm in maximum diameter) represent a significant surgical challenge. Endoscopic endonasal surgery (EES) has recently been introduced as a treatment option for these tumors. The authors present the results of EES for giant adenomas and analyze the advantages and limitations of this technique.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the medical files and imaging studies of 54 patients with giant pituitary adenomas who underwent EES and studied the factors affecting surgical outcome.

Results

Preoperative visual impairment was present in 45 patients (83%) and partial or complete pituitary deficiency in 28 cases (52%), and 7 patients (13%) presented with apoplexy. Near-total resection (> 90%) was achieved in 36 patients (66.7%). Vision was improved or normalized in 36 cases (80%) and worsened in 2 cases due to apoplexy of residual tumor. Significant factors that limited the degree of resection were a multilobular configuration of the adenoma (p = 0.002) and extension to the middle fossa (p = 0.045). Cavernous sinus invasion, tumor size, and intraventricular or posterior fossa extension did not influence the surgical outcome. Complications included apoplexy of residual adenoma (3.7%), permanent diabetes insipidus (9.6%), new pituitary insufficiency (16.7%), and CSF leak (16.7%, which was reduced to 7.4% in recent years). Fourteen patients underwent radiation therapy after EES for residual mass or, in a later stage, for recurrence, and 10 with functional pituitary adenomas received medical treatment. During a mean follow-up of 37.9 months (range 1–114 months), 7 patients were reoperated on for tumor recurrence. Three patients were lost to follow-up.

Conclusions

Endoscopic endonasal surgery provides effective initial management of giant pituitary adenomas with favorable results compared with traditional microscopic transsphenoidal and transcranial approaches.

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Maria Koutourousiou, Paul A. Gardner, Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara, Eric W. Wang and Carl H. Snyderman

Object

The proximity of craniopharyngiomas to vital neurovascular structures and their high recurrence rates make them one of the most challenging and controversial management dilemmas in neurosurgery. Endoscopic endonasal surgery (EES) has recently been introduced as a treatment option for both pediatric and adult craniopharyngiomas. The object of the present study was to present the results of EES and analyze outcome in both the pediatric and the adult age groups.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of patients with craniopharyngioma who had undergone EES in the period from June 1999 to April 2011.

Results

Sixty-four patients, 47 adults and 17 children, were eligible for this study. Forty-seven patients had presented with primary craniopharyngiomas and 17 with recurrent tumors. The mean age in the adult group was 51 years (range 28–82 years); in the pediatric group, 9 years (range 4–18 years). Overall, the gross-total resection rate was 37.5% (24 patients); near-total resection (> 95% of tumor removed) was 34.4% (22 patients); subtotal resection (≥ 80% of tumor removed) 21.9% (14 patients); and partial resection (< 80% of tumor removed) 6.2% (4 patients). In 9 patients, EES had been combined with radiation therapy (with radiosurgery in 6 cases) as the initial treatment. Among the 40 patients (62.5%) who had presented with pituitary insufficiency, pituitary function remained unchanged in 19 (47.5%), improved or normalized in 8 (20%), and worsened in 13 (32.5%). In the 24 patients who had presented with normal pituitary function, new pituitary deficit occurred in 14 (58.3%). Nineteen patients (29.7%) suffered from diabetes insipidus at presentation, and the condition developed in 21 patients (46.7%) after treatment. Forty-four patients (68.8%) had presented with impaired vision. In 38 (86.4%) of them, vision improved or even normalized after surgery; in 5, it remained unchanged; and in 1, it temporarily worsened. One patient without preoperative visual problems showed temporary visual deterioration after treatment. Permanent visual deterioration occurred in no one after surgery. The mean follow-up was 38 months (range 1–135 months). Tumor recurrence after EES was discovered in 22 patients (34.4%) and was treated with repeat surgery (6 patients), radiosurgery (1 patient), combined repeat surgery and radiation therapy (8 patients), interferon (1 patient), or observation (6 patients). Surgical complications included 15 cases (23.4%) with CSF leakage that was treated with surgical reexploration (13 patients) and/or lumbar drain placement (9 patients). This leak rate was decreased to 10.6% in recent years after the introduction of the vascularized nasoseptal flap. Five cases (7.8%) of meningitis were found and treated with antibiotics without further complications. Postoperative hydrocephalus occurred in 7 patients (12.7%) and was treated with ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement. Five patients experienced transient cranial nerve palsies. There was no operative mortality.

Conclusions

With the goal of gross-total or maximum possible safe resection, EES can be used for the treatment of every craniopharyngioma, regardless of its location, size, and extension (excluding purely intraventricular tumors), and can provide acceptable results comparable to those for traditional craniotomies. Endoscopic endonasal surgery is not limited to adults and actually shows higher resection rates in the pediatric population.

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Joseph D. Chabot, Chirag R. Patel, Marion A. Hughes, Eric W. Wang, Carl H. Snyderman, Paul A. Gardner and Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda

OBJECTIVE

The vascularized nasoseptal flap (NSF) has become the workhorse for skull base reconstruction during endoscopic endonasal surgery (EES) of the ventral skull base. Although infrequently reported, as with any vascularized flap the NSF may undergo ischemic necrosis and become a nidus for infection. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s experience with NSF was reviewed to determine the incidence of necrotic NSF in patients following EES and describe the clinical presentation, imaging characteristics, and risk factors associated with this complication.

METHODS

The electronic medical records of 1285 consecutive patients who underwent EES at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center between January 2010 and December 2014 were retrospectively reviewed. From this first group, a list of all patients in whom NSF was used for reconstruction was generated and further refined to determine if the patient returned to the operating room and the cause of this reexploration. Patients were included in the final analysis if they underwent endoscopic reexploration for suspected CSF leak or meningitis. Those patients who returned to the operating room for staged surgery or hematoma were excluded. Two neurosurgeons and a neuroradiologist, who were blinded to each other’s results, assessed the MRI characteristics of the included patients.

RESULTS

In total, 601 patients underwent NSF reconstruction during the study period, and 49 patients met the criteria for inclusion in the final analysis. On endoscopic exploration, 8 patients had a necrotic, nonviable NSF, while 41 patients had a viable NSF with a CSF leak. The group of patients with a necrotic, nonviable NSF was then compared with the group with viable NSF. All 8 patients with a necrotic NSF had clinical and laboratory evidence indicative of meningitis compared with 9 of 41 patients with a viable NSF (p < 0.001). Four patients with necrotic flaps developed epidural empyema compared with 2 of 41 patients in the viable NSF group (p = 0.02). The lack of NSF enhancement on MR (p < 0.001), prior surgery (p = 0.043), and the use of a fat graft (p = 0.004) were associated with necrotic NSF.

CONCLUSIONS

The signs of meningitis after EES in the absence of a clear CSF leak with the lack of NSF enhancement on MRI should raise the suspicion of necrotic NSF. These patients should undergo prompt exploration and debridement of nonviable tissue with revision of skull base reconstruction.

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Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Nathan T. Zwagerman, Kumar Abhinav, Stefan Lieber, Eric W. Wang, Carl H. Snyderman and Paul A. Gardner

OBJECTIVE

Tumors with cavernous sinus (CS) invasion represent a neurosurgical challenge. Increasing application of the endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) requires a thorough understanding of the CS anatomy from an endonasal perspective. In this study, the authors aimed to develop a surgical anatomy–based classification of the CS and establish its utility for preoperative surgical planning and intraoperative guidance in adenoma surgery.

METHODS

Twenty-five colored silicon–injected human head specimens were used for endonasal and transcranial dissections of the CS. Pre- and postoperative MRI studies of 98 patients with pituitary adenoma with intraoperatively confirmed CS invasion were analyzed.

RESULTS

Four CS compartments are described based on their spatial relationship with the cavernous ICA: superior, posterior, inferior, and lateral. Each compartment has distinct boundaries and dural and neurovascular relationships: the superior compartment relates to the interclinoidal ligament and oculomotor nerve, the posterior compartment bears the gulfar segment of the abducens nerve and inferior hypophyseal artery, the inferior compartment contains the sympathetic nerve and distal cavernous abducens nerve, and the lateral compartment includes all cavernous cranial nerves and the inferolateral arterial trunk. Twenty-nine patients had a single compartment invaded, and 69 had multiple compartments involved. The most commonly invaded compartment was the superior (79 patients), followed by the posterior (n = 64), inferior (n = 45), and lateral (n = 23) compartments. Residual tumor rates by compartment were 79% in lateral, 17% in posterior, 14% in superior, and 11% in inferior.

CONCLUSIONS

The anatomy-based classification presented here complements current imaging-based classifications and may help to identify involved compartments both preoperatively and intraoperatively.

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Nathan T. Zwagerman, Matthew J. Tormenti, Zachary J. Tempel, Eric W. Wang, Carl H. Snyderman, Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda and Paul A. Gardner

OBJECTIVE

Treatment of odontoid disease from a ventral corridor has consisted of a transoral approach. More recently, the endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) has been used to access odontoid pathology.

METHODS

A retrospective review was conducted of patients who underwent an EEA for odontoid pathology from 2004 to 2013. During our analysis, the mean follow-up duration was 42.6 months (range 1–80 months). Patient outcomes, complications, and postoperative swallowing function were assessed either by clinic visit or phone contact.

RESULTS

Thirty-four patients underwent an EEA for symptomatic odontoid pathology. The most common pathology treated was basilar invagination (n = 17). Other pathologies included odontoid fractures, os odontoideum, and metastatic carcinoma. The mean patient age was 71.5 years. Thirty-one patients underwent a posterior fusion. All 34 patients experienced stability or improvement in symptoms and all had successful radiographic decompression. The overall complication rate was 76%. Nearly all of these complications were transient (86%) and the overall complication rate excluding mild transient dysphagia was only 44%. Twenty-one patients (62%) suffered from transient postoperative dysphagia: 15 cases were mild, transient subjective dysphagia (6 of whom had documented preoperative dysphagia), whereas 6 other patients required tube feedings for decreased oral intake, malnutrition, and dysphagia in the perioperative setting (5 of these patients had documented preoperative dysphagia). Sixteen patients had documented preoperative dysphagia and 6 of these had lower cranial nerve dysfunction. Postoperatively, 6 (37.5%) of 16 patients with preoperative dysphagia and 4 (67%) of 6 with lower cranial nerve dysfunction had significant dysphagia/respiratory complications. Eighteen patients had no documented preoperative dysphagia and only 2 had significant postoperative dysphagia/respiratory complications (11%). The rates of these complications in patients without preoperative dysphagia were lower than in those with any preoperative dysphagia (p = 0.07) and especially those with preexisting lower cranial neuropathies (p = 0.007). Dysphagia was also significantly more common in patients who underwent occipitocervical fixation (19/26, 73%) than in patients who underwent cervical fusion alone or no fusion (2/8, 25%; p = 0.02). All patients with perioperative dysphagia had improved at follow-up and all patients were tolerating oral diets. No patient suffered from velopalatal insufficiency. Two patients had intraoperative CSF leaks. One of these patients underwent a negative exploratory surgery for a questionable postoperative CSF leak. One patient developed infection in the resection bed requiring debridement and antibiotics. One patient died 8 days following surgery from an unknown cause. The 90-day perioperative mortality rate was 2.9%.

CONCLUSIONS

A completely EEA can be performed for compressive odontoid disease in all cases of neoplastic, degenerative, or invaginative atlantoaxial disease with satisfactory outcomes and low morbidity. Transient perioperative dysphagia and respiratory complications are common, usually as an exacerbation and reflection of underlying disease or occipitocervical fusion rather than the EEA, emphasizing the importance of avoiding transoral surgery.

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Ana C. I. Nakassa, Joseph D. Chabot, Carl H. Snyderman, Eric W. Wang, Paul A. Gardner and Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda

Intracranial epidermoid cysts are benign lesions of epithelial origin that most frequently present with symptoms of mass effect. Although they are often associated with a high rate of residual tumor and recurrence, maximal safe resection usually leads to good outcomes. The authors report a complete resection of an uncommon pituitary stalk epidermoid cyst with intrasellar extension using a combined suprasellar and infrasellar interpituitary, endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal approach. The patient, a 54-year-old woman, presented with headache, visual disturbance, and diabetes insipidus. Postoperatively, she reported improvement in her visual symptoms and well-controlled diabetes insipidus using 0.1 mg of desmopressin at bedtime and normal anterior pituitary gland function. One year later, she continues to receive the same dosage of desmopressin and is also taking 50 mcg of levothyroxine daily after developing primary hypothyroidism unrelated to the surgical procedure. A combined infrasellar interpituitary and suprasellar approach to this rare location for an epidermoid cyst can lead to a safe and complete resection with good clinical outcomes.

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Shannon Fraser, Paul A. Gardner, Maria Koutourousiou, Mark Kubik, Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Carl H. Snyderman and Eric W. Wang

OBJECTIVE

The aim in this paper was to determine risk factors for the development of a postoperative CSF leak after an endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) for resection of skull base tumors.

METHODS

A retrospective review of patients who underwent EEA for the resection of intradural pathology between January 1997 and June 2012 was performed. Basic demographic data were collected, along with patient body mass index (BMI), tumor pathology, reconstruction technique, lumbar drainage, and outcomes.

RESULTS

Of the 615 patients studied, 103 developed a postoperative CSF leak (16.7%). Sex and perioperative lumbar drainage did not affect CSF leakage rates. Posterior fossa tumors had the highest rate of CSF leakage (32.6%), followed by anterior skull base lesions (21.0%) and sellar/suprasellar lesions (9.9%) (p < 0.0001). There was a higher leakage rate for overweight and obese patients (BMI > 25 kg/m2) than for those with a healthy-weight BMI (18.7% vs 11.5%; p = 0.04). Patients in whom a pedicled vascularized flap was used for reconstruction had a lower leakage rate than those in whom a free graft was used (13.5% vs 27.8%; p = 0.0015). In patients with a BMI > 25 kg/m2, the use of a pedicled flap reduced the rate of CSF leakage from 29.5% to 15.0% (p = 0.001); in patients of normal weight, this reduction did not reach statistical significance (21.9% [pedicled flap] vs 9.2% [free graft]; p = 0.09).

CONCLUSIONS

Preoperative BMI > 25 kg/m2 and tumor location in the posterior fossa were associated with higher rates of postoperative CSF leak. Use of a pedicled vascularized flap may be associated with reduced risk of a CSF leak, particularly in overweight patients.