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Amin B. Kassam, Paul A. Gardner, Carl H. Snyderman, Ricardo L. Carrau, Arlan H. Mintz and Daniel M. Prevedello

Object

Craniopharyngiomas are notoriously difficult to treat. Surgeons must weigh the risks of aggressive resection against the long-term challenges of recurrence. Because of their parasellar location, often extending well beyond the sella, these tumors challenge vision and pituitary and hypothalamic function. New techniques are needed to improve outcomes in patients with these tumors while decreasing treatment morbidity. An endoscopic expanded endonasal approach (EEA) is one such technique that warrants understanding and evaluation. The authors explain the techniques and approach used for the endoscopic endonasal resection of suprasellar craniopharyngiomas and introduce a tumor classification scheme.

Methods

The techniques and approach used for the endoscopic, endonasal resection of suprasellar craniopharyngiomas is explained, including the introduction of a tumor classification scheme. This scheme is helpful for understanding both the appropriate expanded approach as well as relevant involved anatomy.

Results

The classification scheme divides tumors according to their suprasellar extension: Type I is preinfundibular; Type II is transinfundibular (extending into the stalk); Type III is retroinfundibular, extending behind the gland and stalk, and has 2 subdivisions (IIIa, extending into the third ventricle; and IIIb, extending into the interpeduncular cistern); and Type IV is isolated to the third ventricle and/or optic recess and is not accessible via an endonasal approach.

Conclusions

The endoscopic EEA requires a thorough understanding of both sinus and skull base anatomy. Moreover, in its application for craniopharyngiomas, an understanding of tumor growth and extension with respect to the optic chiasm and infundibulum is critical to safely approach the lesion via an endonasal route.

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Paul A. Gardner, Daniel M. Prevedello, Amin B. Kassam, Carl H. Snyderman, Ricardo L. Carrau and Arlan H. Mintz

✓Craniopharyngiomas have always been an extremely challenging type of tumor to treat. The transsphenoidal route has been used for resection of these lesions since its introduction. The authors present a historical review of the literature from the introduction of the endonasal route for resection of craniopharyngiomas until the present. Abandoned early due to technological limitations, this approach has been expanded both in its application and in its anatomical boundaries with subsequent progressive improvements in outcomes. This expansion has coincided with advances in visualization devices, imaging guidance techniques, and anatomical understanding. The progression from the use of headlights, to microscopy, to endoscopy and fluoroscopy, and finally to modern intraoperative magnetic resonance–guided techniques, combined with collaboration between otolaryngologists and neurosurgeons, has provided the framework for the development of current techniques for the resection of sellar and suprasellar craniopharyngiomas.

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Paul A. Gardner, Amin B. Kassam, Carl H. Snyderman, Ricardo L. Carrau, Arlan H. Mintz, Steven Grahovac and Susan Stefko

Object

Craniopharyngiomas are challenging tumors that most frequently occur in the sellar or suprasellar regions. Microscopic transsphenoidal resections with various extensions and variations have been performed with good results. The addition of the endoscope as well as the further expansion of the standard and extended transsphenoidal approaches has not been well evaluated for the treatment of this pathological entity.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective review of all patients who underwent a purely endoscopic, expanded endonasal approach (EEA) for the resection of craniopharyngiomas at their institution between June 1999 and February 2006. Endocrine and ophthalmological outcomes, extent of resection, and complications were evaluated.

Results

Sixteen patients underwent endoscopic EEA for the resection of craniopharyngiomas. Five patients (31%) presented with recurrent disease. Complete resection was planned in 11 of the 16 patients. Three elderly patients with vision loss underwent planned debulking, 1 patient with vision loss and a moderate-sized tumor had express wishes for debulking, and 1 patient had a separate, third ventricular nodule that was not resected. Of those in whom complete resection was planned, 91% underwent near-total (2/11) or gross-total (8/11) resection. No patient who underwent gross-total resection suffered a recurrence. The mean follow-up period was 34 months. Of the 14 patients who presented with vision loss, 93% had improvement or complete recovery and 1 patient's condition remained stable. No patient experienced visual worsening. Eighteen percent of patients (without preexisting hypopituitarism) developed panhypopituitarism and 8% developed permanent diabetes insipidus. There were no cases of new obesity. The postoperative cere-brospinal fluid leak rate was 58%. All leaks were resolved, and there were no cases of bacterial meningitis. There was 1 vascular injury (posterior cerebral artery perforator branch) resulting in the only new neurological deficit. No patient died.

Conclusions

Endoscopic EEA for the resection of craniopharyngiomas provides acceptable results and holds the potential to improve outcomes.

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Amin B. Kassam, Johnathan A. Engh, Arlan H. Mintz and Daniel M. Prevedello

Object

The authors introduce a novel technique of intraparenchymal brain tumor resection using a rod lens endoscope and parallel instrumentation via a transparent conduit.

Methods

Over a 4-year period, 21 patients underwent completely endoscopic removal of a subcortical brain lesion by means of a transparent conduit. Image guidance was used to direct the cannulation and resection of all lesions. Postoperative MR imaging or CT was performed to assess for residual tumor in all patients, and all patients were followed up postoperatively to assess for new neurological deficits or other surgical complications.

Results

The histopathological findings were as follows: 12 metastases, 5 glioblastomas, 3 cavernous malformations, and 1 hemangioblastoma. Total radiographically confirmed resection was achieved in 8 cases, near-total in 6 cases, and subtotal in 7 cases. There were no perioperative deaths. Complications included 1 infection and 1 pulmonary embolus. There were no postoperative hematomas, no postoperative seizures, and no worsened neurological deficits in the immediate postoperative period.

Conclusions

Fully endoscopic resection may be a technically feasible method of resection for selected subcortical masses. Further experience with this technique will help to determine its applicability and safety.

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Pawel G. Ochalski, Michael B. Horowitz, Arlan H. Mintz, Steven J. Hughes, David O. Okonkwo, Amin B. Kassam and Andrew R. Watson

The authors report the safety and efficacy of using a percutaneous minimal-access insertion technique for distal shunt catheter placement in 100 cases.

From June 2007 to March 2008, they attempted 100 minimal-access insertions of distal shunt catheters in 91 patients who required ventriculoperitoneal shunting. Using the minimal-access approach, they avoided utilizing laparoscopic assistance or a mini-laparotomy in 91% of the cases. There were no bowel injuries or misplaced distal catheters. Additional outcomes in terms of operative times, cases that required conversion to open or laparoscopically assisted implantation, and infection rates are presented.

They conclude that intraperitoneal shunt catheter placement can be safely and effectively accomplished using a simplified percutaneous minimal-access insertion method that does not require direct laparoscopic visualization.

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Devin V. Amin, Karl Lozanne, Phillip V. Parry, Johnathan A. Engh, Kathleen Seelman and Arlan Mintz

Object

Image-guided frameless stereotactic techniques provide an alternative to traditional head-frame fixation in the performance of fine-needle biopsies. However, these techniques still require rigid head fixation, usually in the form of a head holder. The authors report on a series of fine-needle biopsies and brain abscess aspirations in which a frameless technique was used with a patient's head supported on a horseshoe headholder. To validate this technique, they performed an in vitro accuracy study.

Methods

Forty-eight patients underwent fine-needle biopsy of intracranial lesions that ranged in size from 0.9 to more than 107.7 ml; a fiducial-less, frameless, image-guided technique was used without rigid head fixation. In 1 of the 48 patients a cerebral abscess was drained. The accuracy study was performed with a skull phantom that was imaged with a CT scanner and tracked with a registration mask containing light-emitting diodes. The objective was a skin fiducial marker with a 4-mm circular target to accommodate the 2.5-mm biopsy needle. A series of 50 trials was conducted.

Results

Diagnostic tissue was obtained on the first attempt in 47 of 48 brain biopsy cases. In 2 cases small hemorrhages at the biopsy site were noted as a complication on the postoperative CT scan. One of these hemorrhages resulted in hand and arm weakness. The accuracy study demonstrated a 98% success rate of the biopsy needle passing through the 4-mm circular target using the registration mask as the registration and tracking device. This demonstrates a ± 0.75-mm tolerance on the targeting method.

Conclusions

The accuracy study demonstrated the ability of the mask to actively track the target and allow navigation to a 4-mm-diameter circular target with a 98% success rate. The frameless, pinless, fiducial-less technique described herein will likely be another safe, fast alternative to frame-based stereotactic techniques for fine-needle biopsy that avoids the potential morbidity of rigid head-pin fixation. Furthermore, it should lend itself to other image-guided applications such as the placement of ventricular catheters for shunting or Ommaya reservoirs.