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Danilo Silva, Moshe Attia and Theodore H. Schwartz

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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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Cristian Ferrareze Nunes, Stefan Lieber, Huy Q. Truong, Georgios Zenonos, Eric W. Wang, Carl H. Snyderman, Paul A. Gardner and Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda

OBJECTIVE

Pituitary adenomas may extend into the parapeduncular space by invading through the roof of the cavernous sinus. Currently, a transcranial approach is the preferred choice, with or without the combination of an endonasal approach. In this paper the authors present a novel surgical approach that takes advantage of the natural corridor provided by the tumor to further open the oculomotor triangle and resect tumor extension into the parapeduncular space.

METHODS

Six injected specimens were used to demonstrate in detail the surgical anatomy related to the approach. Four cases in which the proposed approach was used were retrospectively reviewed.

RESULTS

From a technical perspective, the first step involves accessing the superior compartment of the cavernous sinus. The interclinoid ligament should be identified and the dura forming the oculomotor triangle exposed. The oculomotor dural opening may be then extended posteriorly toward the posterior petroclinoidal ligament and inferolaterally toward the anterior petroclinoidal ligament. The oculomotor nerve should then be identified; in this series it was displaced superomedially in all 4 cases. The posterior communicating artery should also be identified to avoid its injury. In all 4 cases, the tumor invading the parapeduncular space was completely removed. There were no vascular injuries and only 1 patient had a partial oculomotor nerve palsy that completely resolved in 2 weeks.

CONCLUSIONS

The endoscopic endonasal transoculomotor approach is an original alternative for removal of tumor extension into the parapeduncular space in a single procedure. The surgical corridor is increased by opening the dura of the oculomotor triangle and by working below and lateral to the cisternal segment of the oculomotor nerve.

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Amin B. Kassam, Paul A. Gardner, Arlan Mintz, Carl H. Snyderman, Ricardo L. Carrau and Michael Horowitz

✓Paraclinoidal aneurysms, especially superior hypophyseal artery (SHA) aneurysms (with medial projection), can be challenging to access via a pterional craniotomy and damage to the optic nerve can occur during surgery. The authors have previously reported on endonasal clipping and aneurysmorrhaphy of a vertebral artery aneurysm following proximal and distal protection of the aneurysm using partial coil embolization. To the best of the authors' knowledge no unprotected aneurysm has been clipped using an endonasal approach.

The 56-year-old woman in this report was found to have two unruptured aneurysms: an anterior communicating artery (ACoA) aneurysm and an SHA aneurysm. An endoscopic endonasal, transplanar–transsellar approach was used to successfully clip the SHA aneurysm. Proximal and distal control was obtained endonasally prior to successful clip occlusion of the aneurysm. The ACoA aneurysm was clipped via a pterional craniotomy during the same anesthetic session. This report shows that it is possible to successfully clip a medially projecting, paraclinoidal aneurysm using an endonasal approach. Such cases must be chosen with extreme caution and only performed by surgeons with significant experience with both endoscopic endonasal approaches and neurovascular 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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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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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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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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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.