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Rudolf Fahlbusch, Oliver Ganslandt, Michael Buchfelder, Werner Schott and Christopher Nimsky

Object. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether intraoperative magnetic resonance (MR) imaging can increase the efficacy of transsphenoidal microsurgery, primarily in non—hormone-secreting intra- and suprasellar pituitary macroadenomas.

Methods. Intraoperative imaging was performed using a 0.2-tesla MR imager, which was located in a specially designed operating room. The patient was placed supine on the sliding table of the MR imager, with the head placed near the 5-gauss line. A standard flexible coil was placed around the patient's forehead. Microsurgery was performed using MR-compatible instruments. Image acquisition was started after the sliding table had been moved into the center of the magnet. Coronal and sagittal T1-weighted images each required over 8 minutes to acquire, and T2-weighted images were obtained optionally. To assess the reliability of intraoperative evaluation of tumor resection, the intraoperative findings were compared with those on conventional postoperative 1.5-tesla MR images, which were obtained 2 to 3 months after surgery.

Among 44 patients with large intra- and suprasellar pituitary adenomas that were mainly hormonally inactive, intraoperative MR imaging allowed an ultra-early evaluation of tumor resection in 73% of cases; such an evaluation is normally only possible 2 to 3 months after surgery. A second intraoperative examination of 24 patients for suspected tumor remnants led to additional resection in 15 patients (34%).

Conclusions. Intraoperative MR imaging undoubtedly offers the option of a second look within the same surgical procedure, if incomplete tumor resection is suspected. Thus, the rate of procedures during which complete tumor removal is achieved can be improved. Furthermore, additional treatments for those patients in whom tumor removal was incomplete can be planned at an early stage, namely just after surgery.

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Christian Strauss, Barbara Bischoff, Mandana Neu, Michael Berg, Rudolf Fahlbusch and Johann Romstöck

Object. Delayed hearing loss following surgery for acoustic neuroma indicates anatomical and functional preservation of the cochlear nerve and implies that a pathophysiological mechanism is initiated during surgery and continues thereafter. Intraoperative brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAEPs) typically demonstrate gradual reversible loss of components in these patients.

Methods. Based on this BAEP pattern, a consecutive series of 41 patients with unilateral acoustic neuromas was recruited into a prospective randomized study to investigate hearing outcomes following the natural postoperative course and recuperation after vasoactive medication. Both groups were comparable in patient age, tumor size, and preoperative hearing level. Twenty patients did not receive postoperative medical treatment. In 70% of these patients anacusis was documented and in 30% hearing was preserved. Twenty-one patients were treated with hydroxyethyl starch and nimodipine for an average of 9 days. In 66.6% of these patients hearing was preserved and in 33.3% anacusis occurred.

Conclusions. These results are statistically significant (p < 0.05, χ2 = 5.51) and provide evidence that these surgically treated patients suffer from a disturbed microcirculation that causes delayed hearing loss following removal of acoustic neuromas.

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Rudolf Fahlbusch and Werner Schott

Object. The authors reviewed 47 cases of suprasellar meningiomas with special attention to ophthalmological and endocrinological outcomes.

Methods. All patients underwent surgery performed via a unilateral pterional approach between January 1983 and January 1998. Ophthalmological and endocrinological examinations were performed before the operation as well as 1 week and 3 months postoperatively. A special scoring system was adopted to quantify the extent of ophthalmological disturbances. Complete tumor resection was possible in all but one patient. There were no fatalities and the rate of visual improvement was 80%. The best prognoses were found in patients younger than 50 years and in patients in whom the duration of symptoms was less than 1 year. Before surgery, tumor-related endocrine disturbances were present in only three women who suffered from secondary hypogonadism; two of these patients recovered after surgery. Postoperatively, no patient needed replacement therapy for pituitary dysfunction. The overall tumor recurrence rate was 2.1% (one of 47 cases). For patients in whom long-term (> 5 years) follow-up data were available, the recurrence rate was 4.2% (one of 24 cases).

Conclusions. In this series, complete resection of suprasellar meningiomas was possible through a unilateral pterional craniotomy and was associated with a low morbidity rate and no deaths.

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Ramin Naraghi, Peter Hastreiter, Bernd Tomandl, Agatha Bonk, Walter Huk and Rudolf Fahlbusch

Object. The goal of this study was to describe the authors' technique for three-dimensional (3D) visualization of neurovascular relationships in the posterior fossa at the surface of the brainstem. This technique is based on the processing of high-resolution magnetic resonance (MR) imaging data. The principles and technical details involved in the accurate simultaneous visualization of vessels and cranial nerves as tiny structures are presented using explicit and implicit segmentation as well as volume rendering.

Methods. In this approach 3D MR constructive interference in steady state imaging data served as the source for image processing, which was performed using the Linux-based software tools SegMed for segmentation and Qvis for volume rendering. A sequence of filtering operations (including noise reduction and closing) and other software tools such as volume growing are used for a semiautomatic coarse segmentation. The subsequent 3D visualization in which implicit segmentation is used for the differentiation of cranial nerves, vessels, and brainstem is achieved by allocating opacity and color values and adjusting the related transfer functions. This method was applied to the presurgical evaluation in a consecutive series of 55 patients with neurovascular compression syndromes and the results were correlated to surgical findings. The potential for its use, further developments, and remaining problems are discussed.

Conclusions. This method provides an excellent intraoperative real-time virtual view of difficult anatomical relationships.

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Andreas Stadlbauer, Ewald Moser, Stephan Gruber, Christopher Nimsky, Rudolf Fahlbusch and Oliver Ganslandt

Object. It is often difficult to delineate the extent of invasion of high- and low-grade gliomas into normal brain tissue by using conventional T1- and T2-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Knowledge of the relationship between the tumor infiltration zone and normal brain, however, is one of the prerequisites for performing as radical a tumor resection as possible. Proton MR spectroscopy allows noninvasive measurements of the concentrations and spatial distributions of brain metabolites and, therefore, may provide biochemical information in vivo, that is useful in distinguishing pathological from normal areas of the brain.

The authors have developed a method to use the properties of MR spectroscopy to investigate intraoperatively pathological changes in the spatial distribution of choline (Cho)-containing compounds, total creatine, and N-acetylaspartate (NAA) in brain tumors with the aid of frameless stereotaxy.

Methods. Maps of the Cho/NAA ratio were calculated and automatic segmentation of the tumors was performed. Spectroscopic images of the segmented tumor were matched to an anatomical three-dimensional (3D) MR imaging set by applying a fully automated mutual-information algorithm. The resulting 3D MR image can be used subsequently for neurosurgical planning, transfer to a frameless stereotactic system, and display in the navigation microscope during surgery leading to 1H-MR spectroscopy-guided navigation.

Conclusions. This method may allow better intraoperative identification of tumor border zones based on metabolic changes due to tumor infiltration.

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Ilker Y. Eyüpoglu, Eric Hahnen, Alexandra Heckel, Florian A. Siebzehnrübl, Rolf Buslei, Rudolf Fahlbusch and Ingmar Blümcke

✓ Rapid growth and diffuse brain infiltration are hallmarks of malignant gliomas. The underlying molecular pathomechanisms of these tumors, however, remain to be determined. The authors present a novel glioma invasion model that allows researchers to monitor consecutively tumor cell proliferation and migration in an organotypic brain environment. Enhanced green fluorescent protein—labeled F98 rat glioma cells were implanted into slice cultures obtained from a rat hippocampus, and tumor growth was microscopically documented up to 20 days in vitro. Invasion along radially oriented migratory streams could be observed 5 days after implantation of rat F98, human U87MG, and mouse GL261 glioma cells, whereas human Be(2)c neuroblastoma cells and mouse HT22 hippocampal neurons failed to invade the brain parenchyma. Following implantation of F98 glioma cells into the entorhinal cortex, cell death was observed within the infiltrated brain parenchyma as well as in the neuroanatomically connected dentate gyrus. Application of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist MK801 to the culture medium significantly reduced neuronal degeneration in the dentate gyrus, whereas the a-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate receptor antagonist GYKI 52466 inhibited peritumoral cytotoxicity. This new model allows researchers to address in a systematic manner the molecular pathways of brain invasion as well as specific tumor—host interactions such as necrosis.

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Julian Prell, Stefan Rampp, Johann Romstöck, Rudolf Fahlbusch and Christian Strauss

Object

The authors describe a quantitative electromyographic (EMG) parameter for intraoperative monitoring of facial nerve function during vestibular schwannoma removal. This parameter is based on the automated detection of A trains, an EMG pattern that is known to be associated with postoperative facial nerve paresis.

Methods

For this study, 40 patients were examined. During the entire operative procedure, free-running EMG signals were recorded in muscles targeted by the facial nerve. A software program specifically designed for this purpose was used to analyze these continuous recordings offline. By automatically adding up time intervals during which A trains occurred, a quantitative parameter was calculated, which was named “train time.”

A strong correlation between the length of train time (measured in seconds) and deterioration of postoperative facial nerve function was demonstrated. Certain consecutive safety thresholds at 0.5 and 10 seconds were defined. Their transgression reliably indicated postoperative facial nerve paresis. At less than a 10-second train time, discrete worsening, and at more than 10 seconds, profound deterioration of facial nerve function can be anticipated.

Conclusions

Train time as a quantitative parameter was shown to be a reliable indicator of facial nerve paresis after surgery for vestibular schwannoma.

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Bernd Markus Hofmann, Michal Hlavac, Ramon Martinez, Michael Buchfelder, Otto Albrecht Müller and Rudolf Fahlbusch

Object

The aim of this paper was to demonstrate the long-term results following microsurgery in a single surgeon's continuous series of patients with Cushing disease (CD), to assess the influence of changes in surgical procedures, and to compare the results with those of other treatment modalities. In particular, preoperative diagnosis, tumor size, results of histological examination, and complications were considered.

Methods

Between 1971 and 2004, 426 patients suffering from newly diagnosed CD underwent primary surgery. Pre-operative measures included clinical examination, endocrinological workup (testing of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, and 2- and 8-mg dexamethasone overnight suppression tests), sellar imaging (polytomography, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance [MR] imaging), and in patients with negative results on imaging studies, inferior petrosal sinus sampling. Follow-up examinations consisting of endocrinological workup, and imaging took place 1 week and 3 months after surgery and then at yearly intervals.

Results

During microsurgery as first treatment, the adenoma finding rate was 86.6%. After selective adenomectomy, the remission rate was 75.9%, and this rate showed no improvement over the years. The best results were achieved in microadenomas confirmed on MR imaging or histopathological investigation. The recurrence rate (15%) and the complication rate (5.9%) declined over the years. If no adenoma was found, exploration of the sella turcica was performed in 45.6%, hypophysectomy in 3.5%, and hemihypophysectomy in 50.9% of these patients, leading to an early remission in 37.9%. In case of persistence or recurrence, further treatment (repeated operation, adrenalectomy, radio-therapy, or medical treatment) was used to control the disease.

Conclusions

Microsurgery remains the treatment of first choice in CD, even though no improvement in remission rates was observed over the years, because complication or remission rates for other treatment options are comparable or worse.

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Venelin Miloslavov Gerganov, Amir Samii, Arasch Akbarian, Lennart Stieglitz, Madjid Samii and Rudolf Fahlbusch

Object

Ultrasound may be a reliable but simpler alternative to intraoperative MR imaging (iMR imaging) for tumor resection control. However, its reliability in the detection of tumor remnants has not been definitely proven. The aim of the study was to compare high-field iMR imaging (1.5 T) and high-resolution 2D ultrasound in terms of tumor resection control.

Methods

A prospective comparative study of 26 consecutive patients was performed. The following parameters were compared: the existence of tumor remnants after presumed radical removal and the quality of the images. Tumor remnants were categorized as: detectable with both imaging modalities or visible only with 1 modality.

Results

Tumor remnants were detected in 21 cases (80.8%) with iMR imaging. All large remnants were demonstrated with both modalities, and their image quality was good. Two-dimensional ultrasound was not as effective in detecting remnants < 1 cm. Two remnants detected with iMR imaging were missed by ultrasound. In 2 cases suspicious signals visible only on ultrasound images were misinterpreted as remnants but turned out to be a blood clot and peritumoral parenchyma. The average time for acquisition of an ultrasound image was 2 minutes, whereas that for an iMR image was ~ 10 minutes. Neither modality resulted in any procedure-related complications or morbidity.

Conclusions

Intraoperative MR imaging is more precise in detecting small tumor remnants than 2D ultrasound. Nevertheless, the latter may be used as a less expensive and less time-consuming alternative that provides almost real-time feedback information. Its accuracy is highest in case of more confined, deeply located remnants. In cases of more superficially located remnants, its role is more limited.