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Luigi M. Cavallo, Daniel M. Prevedello, Domenico Solari, Paul A. Gardner, Felice Esposito, Carl H. Snyderman, Ricardo L. Carrau, Amin B. Kassam and Paolo Cappabianca

Object

The management of recurrent or residual craniopharyngiomas remains controversial. Although possible, revision surgery is more challenging than primary surgery, and more often results in incomplete resection and an increased risk of death and complications. The extended (also called expanded) endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal approach through the planum sphenoidale has been proposed over the past decade as an alternative surgical route for removal of various suprasellar tumors including craniopharyngiomas. In this study, the authors describe the feasibility and advantages of this technique in recurrent or symptomatic residual craniopharyngiomas.

Methods

Between January 2004 and June 2008, 22 patients underwent surgery via the extended endoscopic transsphenoidal approach for the treatment of recurrent or residual symptomatic craniopharyngiomas at either the University of Pittsburgh or the Universita degli Studi di Napoli. The lesions included 12 purely suprasellar craniopharyngiomas, 9 with both intra- and suprasellar extensions, and 1 arising from a remnant in the Meckel cave. To better evaluate the features of the extended endonasal approach for recurrent or residual craniopharyngiomas, each patient was assigned to 1 of 3 subgroups depending on the original surgical treatment: transcranial pterional route (13 patients), transphenoidal approach (3 patients; 2 microsurgically and 1 with the standard endoscopic technique), or extended endonasal endoscopic approach (6 patients).

Results

Total removal was achieved in 9 patients (40.9%), and in 8 patients (36.4%) near-total removal (defined as > 95% removal) was possible. Subtotal removal (> 70%) was attained in 4 patients (18.2%), and tumor removal was partial (< 50%) in only 1 case (4.5%). There were no deaths or major complications, including behavior changes. Postoperative CSF leaks developed in 2 patients in the transcranial subgroup, and 1 in the transsphenoidal subgroup (overall rate 13.6%), requiring early successful endoscopic revision surgery for the cranial base defect.

Conclusions

Most of the advantages of the endoscopic endonasal technique were noted during tumor dissection from the inferior aspect of the chiasm, the infundibulum, the third ventricle, and/or the retro- and parasellar areas. These benefits were best appreciated in patients who had originally undergone transcranial surgery, since in such cases the authors' endoscopic endonasal approach was a virgin route. However, the extended endoscopic endonasal technique can also be safely used in patients who originally underwent transsphenoidal surgery. The endoscopic endonasal technique should be considered as a therapeutic option in selected cases of recurrent or symptomatic residual craniopharyngiomas.

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Ricky Madhok, Daniel M. Prevedello, Paul Gardner, Ricardo L. Carrau, Carl H. Snyderman and Amin B. Kassam

Object

Rathke cleft cysts (RCCs) are benign lesions that can be diagnosed as an incidental finding associated with headaches, pituitary dysfunction, or vision deterioration. Typically, they occur in a sellar or suprasellar location. The aim of this study was to review the clinical presentation and outcomes associated with endoscopic endonasal resection of these lesions.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed a series of 35 patients with a diagnosis of RCC after endoscopic endonasal resection at the University of Pittsburgh between January 1998 and July 2008.

Results

All 35 patients underwent a purely endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA). The average patient age was 34 years (range 12–67 years), and the average follow-up was 19 months (range 1–60 months). Clinical follow-up data were available for 32 patients, and radiographic follow-up data were accessible for 33 patients. All of the patients underwent complete removal of the cyst contents, and according to radiography studies 2 patients had a recurrence, neither of which required reoperation. The mean cyst volume was 1052.7 mm3 (range 114–6044 mm3). Headache was a presenting symptom in 26 (81.2%) of 32 patients, with 25 (96.1%) of 26 having postoperative improvement in their headaches. Fifteen (57.7%) of the 26 patients had complete pain resolution, and 10 (38.5%) had a > 50% reduction in their pain scores. Six (18.8%) of 32 patients initially presented with pituitary dysfunction, although 2 (33.3%) had postoperative improvement. Three (9.4%) of 32 patients had temporary pituitary dysfunction postoperatively, although there was no permanent pituitary dysfunction. Neither were there any intraoperative complications, postoperative CSF leaks, or new neurological deficits. The average hospital stay was 1.8 days (range 1–5 days).

Conclusions

The EEA is a safe and effective approach in the treatment of RCCs. None of the patients in this study experienced any worsening of their preoperative symptoms or pituitary function, and 96% of the patients who had presented with headache experienced complete or significant pain relief following treatment.

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Oral Presentations

2010 AANS Annual Meeting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 1–5, 2010

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Amin B. Kassam, Daniel M. Prevedello, Ricardo L. Carrau, Carl H. Snyderman, Ajith Thomas, Paul Gardner, Adam Zanation, Bulent Duz, S. Tonya Stefko, Karin Byers and Michael B. Horowitz

Object

The development of endoscopic endonasal approaches, albeit in the early stages, represents part of the continuous evolution of skull base surgery. During this early period, it is important to determine the safety of these approaches by analyzing surgical complications to identify and eliminate their causes.

Methods

The authors reviewed all perioperative complications associated with endoscopic endonasal skull base surgeries performed between July 1998 and June 2007 at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Results

This study includes the data for the authors' first 800 patients, comprising 399 male (49.9%) and 401 female (50.1%) patients with a mean age of 49.21 years (range 3–96 years). Pituitary adenomas (39.1%) and meningiomas (11.8%) were the 2 most common pathologies. A postoperative CSF leak represented the most common complication, occurring in 15.9% of the patients. All patients with a postoperative CSF leak were successfully treated with a lumbar drain and/or another endoscopic approach, except for 1 patient who required a transcranial repair. The incidence of postoperative CSF leaks decreased significantly with the adoption of vascularized tissue for reconstruction of the skull base (< 6%). Transient neurological deficits occurred in 20 patients (2.5%) and permanent neurological deficits in 14 patients (1.8%). Intracranial infection and systemic complications were encountered and successfully treated in 13 (1.6%) and 17 (2.1%) patients, respectively. Seven patients died during the 30-day perioperative period, 6 of systemic illness and 1 of infection (overall mortality 0.9%).

Conclusions

Endoscopic endonasal skull base surgery provides a viable median corridor based on anatomical landmarks and is customized according to the specific pathological process. This corridor should be considered as the sole access or may be combined with traditional approaches. With the incremental acquisition of skills and experience, endoscopic endonasal approaches have an acceptable safety profile in select patients presenting with various skull base pathologies.

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Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Carlos D. Pinheiro-Neto, Paul A. Gardner and Carl H. Snyderman

The authors present the technical and anatomical nuances needed to perform an endoscopic endonasal removal of a tuberculum sellae meningioma. The patient is a 47-year-old female with headaches and an incidental finding of a small tuberculum sellae meningioma with no vascular encasement, no optic canal invasion, but mild inferior to superior compression of the cisternal segment of the left optic nerve. Neuroophthalmology assessment revealed no visual defects. Treatment options included clinical observation with imaging follow-up studies, radiosurgery, and resection. The patient elected to undergo surgical removal and an endonasal endoscopic approach was the preferred surgical option.

Preoperative radiological studies showed the presence of an osseous ring between the left middle and anterior clinoids, the so-called carotico-clinoidal ring. The surgical implications of this finding and its management are illustrated. The surgical anatomy of the suprasellar region is reviewed, including concepts such as the chiasmatic sulcus and limbus sphenoidale, medial and lateral optico-carotid recesses, and the paraclinoidal and supraclinoidal segments of the internal carotid artery. Emphasis is made in the importance of exposing the distal dural ring of the internal carotid artery and the precanalicular segment of the optic nerve for adequate intradural dissection. The endonasal route allows for early coagulation of the tumor meningeal supply and extensive resection of dural attachments, and importantly, provides an inferior to superior access to the infrachiasmatic region that facilitates complete tumor removal without any manipulation of the optic nerve. The lateral limit of dural removal is formed by the distal dural ring, which is gently coagulated after the tumor is resected. A 45° scope is used to inspect for any residual tumor, in particular at the entrance of the optic nerve into the optic canal and at the most anterior margin of the exposure (limbus sphenoidale). The steps for reconstruction are detailed and include intradural placement of dural substitute and extradural placement of the nasoseptal flap. The nuances for proper harvesting, positioning, and reinforcement of the flap are described. No lumbar drain was used.

The patient had an uneventful recovery with no CSF leak or any other complications. Imaging follow-up at 6 months showed complete removal of the tumor. The patient had no sinonasal or neurological symptoms, and olfaction was fully preserved.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/kkuV-yyEHMg.

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Matthew J. Tormenti, Alessandro Paluzzi, Carlos D. Pinheiro-Neto, Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Carl H. Snyderman and Paul A. Gardner

The authors present a fully endoscopic endonasal repair of a spontaneous CSF leak caused by a defect in the anterior fossa floor. Patients were positioned supine in a Mayfield headholder in slight extension. A complete ethmoidectomy was performed to expose the defect. The middle turbinate was removed to increase visualization and allow for more working room. The defect was identified and exposed. A nasoseptal flap was raised and placed over the defect. A free-mucosal graft fashioned from the removed middle turbinate was placed on the nasoseptal donor site.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/gAN2cvQVXCE.

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Carl H. Snyderman, Paul A. Gardner and Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda

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Alessandro Paluzzi, Paul Gardner, Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Carlos D. Pinheiro-Neto, Tiago Fernando Scopel, Maria Koutourousiou and Carl H. Snyderman

Object

The aim of this study was to report the results in a consecutive series of patients who had undergone an endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) for drainage of a petrous apex cholesterol granuloma (CG).

Methods

Seventeen cases with a confirmed diagnosis of petrous apex CG were identified from a database of more than 1600 patients who had undergone an EEA to skull base lesions at the authors' institution in the period from 1998 to 2011. Clinical outcomes were reviewed and compared with those in previous studies of open approaches.

Results

Nine patients underwent a transclival approach and 8 patients underwent a combined transclival and infrapetrous approach. A Silastic stent was used in 11 patients (65%), a miniflap in 4 (24%), and a simple marsupialization of the cyst in 3 (18%). All symptomatic patients had partial or complete improvement of their symptoms postoperatively and at the follow-up (mean follow-up 20 months, range 3–67 months). Complications developed in 3 patients (18%) including epistaxis, chronic serous otitis media, eye dryness, and a transient sixth cranial nerve palsy. Two patients (12%) had a symptomatic recurrence of the cyst requiring repeat endoscopic endonasal drainage. There were no instances of internal carotid artery injuries, CSF leaks, or new hearing loss. The mean postoperative hospital stay was 2 days (range 0.7–4.6 days). These results were comparable with those in previous studies of open approaches to petrous apex CGs.

There was a strong correlation between the size of the cyst and the type of approach chosen (Rpb [point biserial correlation coefficient] = +0.67, p = 0.003359) and a very strong correlation between the degree of medial extension (defined by the V-angle) and the choice of approach (Rpb = +0.81, p < 0.0001). Based on these observations, the authors developed an algorithm for guiding the choice of the most appropriate route of drainage.

Conclusions

The EEA is a safe and effective alternative to traditional open approaches to petrous apex CGs.

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Srinivas Chivukula, Maria Koutourousiou, Carl H. Snyderman, Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Paul A. Gardner and Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara

Object

The use of endoscopic endonasal surgery (EES) for skull base pathologies in the pediatric population presents unique challenges and has not been well described. The authors reviewed their experience with endoscopic endonasal approaches in pediatric skull base surgery to assess surgical outcomes and complications in the context of presenting patient demographics and pathologies.

Methods

A retrospective review of 133 pediatric patients who underwent EES at our institution from July 1999 to May 2011 was performed.

Results

A total of 171 EESs were performed for skull base tumors in 112 patients and bony lesions in 21. Eighty-five patients (63.9%) were male, and the mean age at the time of surgery was 12.7 years (range 2.3–18.0 years). Skull base tumors included angiofibromas (n = 24), craniopharyngiomas (n = 16), Rathke cleft cysts (n = 12), pituitary adenomas (n = 11), chordomas/chondrosarcomas (n = 10), dermoid/epidermoid tumors (n = 9), and 30 other pathologies. In total, 19 tumors were malignant (17.0%). Among patients with follow-up data, gross-total resection was achieved in 16 cases of angiofibromas (76.2%), 9 of craniopharyngiomas (56.2%), 8 of Rathke cleft cysts (72.7%), 7 of pituitary adenomas (70%), 5 of chordomas/chondrosarcomas (50%), 6 of dermoid/epidermoid tumors (85.7%), and 9 cases of other pathologies (31%). Fourteen patients received adjuvant radiotherapy, and 5 received chemotherapy. Sixteen patients (15.4%) showed tumor recurrence and underwent reoperation. Bony abnormalities included skull base defects (n = 12), basilar invagination (n = 4), optic nerve compression (n = 3) and trauma (n = 2); preexisting neurological dysfunction resolved in 12 patients (57.1%), improved in 7 (33.3%), and remained unchanged in 2 (9.5%). Overall, complications included CSF leak in 14 cases (10.5%), meningitis in 5 (3.8%), transient diabetes insipidus in 8 patients (6.0%), and permanent diabetes insipidus in 12 (9.0%). Five patients (3.8%) had transient and 3 (2.3%) had permanent cranial nerve palsies. The mean follow-up time was 22.7 months (range 1–122 months); 5 patients were lost to follow-up.

Conclusions

Endoscopic endonasal surgery has proved to be a safe and feasible approach for the management of a variety of pediatric skull base pathologies. When appropriately indicated, EES may achieve optimal outcomes in the pediatric population.

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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.