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David T. Fernandes Cabral, Georgios A. Zenonos, Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Eric W. Wang and Paul A. Gardner

OBJECTIVE

Iatrogenic tumor seeding after open surgery for chordoma has been well described in the literature. The incidence and particularities related to endoscopic endonasal surgery (EES) have not been defined.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed their experience with EES for clival chordoma, focusing on cases with iatrogenic seeding. The clinical, radiographic, pathological, and molecular characterization data were reviewed.

RESULTS

Among 173 EESs performed for clival chordomas at the authors’ institution between April 2003 and May 2016, 2 cases complicated by iatrogenic seeding (incidence 1.15%) were identified. The first case was a 10-year-old boy, who presented 21 months after an EES for a multiply recurrent clival chordoma with a recurrence along the left inferior turbinate, distinct from a right petrous apex recurrence. Both appeared as a T2-hypertintense, T1-isointense, and heterogeneously enhancing lesion on MRI. Resection of the inferior turbinate recurrence and debulking of the petrous recurrence were both performed via a purely endoscopic endonasal approach. Unfortunately, the child died 2 years later due progression of disease at the primary site, but with no sign of progression at the seeded site. The second patient was a 79-year-old man with an MRI-incompatible pacemaker who presented 19 months after EES for his clival chordoma with a mass involving the floor of the left nasal cavity that was causing an oro-antral fistula. On CT imaging, this appeared as a homogeneously contrast-enhancing mass eroding the hard palate inferiorly, the nasal septum superiorly, and the nasal process of the maxilla, with extension into the subcutaneous tissue. This was also treated endoscopically (combined transnasal-transoral approach) with resection of the mass, and repair of the fistula by using a palatal and left lateral wall rotational flap. Adjuvant hypofractionated stereotactic CyberKnife radiotherapy was administered using 35 Gy in 5 fractions. No recurrence was appreciated endoscopically or on imaging at the patient’s last follow-up, 12 months after this last procedure. In both cases, pathological investigation of the original tumors revealed a fairly aggressive biology with 1p36 deletions, and high Ki-67 levels (10%–15%, and > 20%, respectively). The procedures were performed by a team of right-handed surgeons (otolaryngology and neurosurgery), using a 4-handed technique (in which the endoscope and suction are typically passed through the right nostril, and other instruments are passed through the left nostril without visualization).

CONCLUSIONS

Although uncommon, iatrogenic seeding occurs during EES for clival chordomas, probably because of decreased visualization during tumor removal combined with mucosal trauma and exposure of subepithelial elements (either inadvertently or because of mucosal flaps). In addition, tumors with more aggressive biology (1p36 deletions, elevated Ki-67, or both) are probably at a higher risk and require increased vigilance on surveillance imaging and endoscopy. Further prospective studies are warranted to evaluate the authors’ proposed strategies for decreasing the incidence of iatrogenic seeding after EES for chordomas.

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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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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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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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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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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.

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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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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, Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Eric W. Wang, Carl H. Snyderman, M.B.A. and Paul A. Gardner

Object

Recently, endoscopic endonasal surgery (EES) has been introduced in the management of skull base tumors, with constantly improving outcomes and increasing indications. The authors retrospectively reviewed the effectiveness of EES in the management of olfactory groove meningiomas.

Methods

Between February 2003 and December 2012, 50 patients (64% female) with olfactory groove meningiomas underwent EES at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The authors present the results of EES and analyze the resection rates, clinical outcome, complications, and limitations of this approach.

Results

Forty-four patients presented with primary tumors, whereas six were previously treated elsewhere. The patients’ mean age was 57.1 years (range 27–88 years). Clinical presentation included altered mental status (36%), visual loss (30%), headache (24%), and seizures (20%). The mean maximum tumor diameter was 41.6 mm (range 18–80 mm). All patients underwent EES, which was performed in stages in 18 giant tumors. Complete tumor resection (Simpson Grade I) was achieved in 66.7% of the 45 patients in whom it was the goal, and 13 (28.9%) had near-total resection (> 95% of the tumor). Tumor size, calcification, and absence of cortical cuff from vasculature were significant factors that influenced the degree of resection (p = 0.002, p = 0.024, and p = 0.028, respectively). Tumor residual was usually at the most lateral and anterior tumor margins.

Following EES, mental status was improved or normalized in 77.8% of the cases, vision was improved or restored in 86.7 %, and headaches resolved in 83.3 %. There was no postoperative deterioration of presenting symptoms. Complications were increased in tumors > 40 mm and included CSF leakage (30%), which was significantly associated with lobular tumor configuration (p = 0.048); pulmonary embolism/deep vein thrombosis, more commonly in elderly patients (20%); sinus infections (10%); and delayed abscess months or years after EES (6%). One patient had an intraoperative vascular injury resulting in transient hemiparesis (2%). There were no perioperative deaths. During a mean follow-up period of 32 months (median 22 months, range 1–115 months), 1 patient underwent repeat EES for tumor regrowth.

Conclusions

Endoscopic endonasal surgery has shown good clinical outcomes regardless of patient age, previous treatment, or tumor characteristics. Tumor size > 40 mm, calcification, and absence of cortical vascular cuff limit GTR with EES; in addition, large tumors are associated with increased postoperative complications. Significant lateral and anterior dural involvement may represent indications for using traditional craniotomies for the management of these tumors. Postoperative CSF leakage remains a problem that necessitates innovations in EES reconstruction techniques.