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Free access

Letter to the Editor. Earlier radiosurgery is related to better outcome in trigeminal neuralgia

Alfio Spina, Nicola Boari, and Pietro Mortini

Free access

Letter to the Editor. Pain outcomes for trigeminal neuralgia

Luigi Albano, Lina Raffaella Barzaghi, and Pietro Mortini

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Letter to the Editor. Pain outcomes for trigeminal neuralgia

Luigi Albano, Lina Raffaella Barzaghi, and Pietro Mortini

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Fronto-orbitozygomatic approach: functional and cosmetic outcomes in a series of 169 patients

Nicola Boari, Alfio Spina, Lodoviga Giudice, Francesca Gorgoni, Michele Bailo, and Pietro Mortini

OBJECTIVE

Advantages of the fronto-orbitozygomatic (FOZ) approach have been reported extensively in the literature; nevertheless, restoration of normal anatomy and the esthetic impact of surgery are increasingly important issues for patients and neurosurgeons. The aim of this study was to analyze functional and cosmetic outcomes in a series of 169 patients with different pathologies who underwent surgery in which the FOZ approach was used.

METHODS

Between January 2000 and December 2014, 250 consecutive patients underwent surgery with an FOZ approach as the primary surgical treatment. Follow-up data were available for only 169 patients; 103 (60.9%) of these patients were female and 66 (39.1%) were male, and their ages ranged from 6 to 77 years (mean 46.9 years; SD 15.6 years). Mean follow-up time was 66 months (range 6–179 months; SD 49.5 months). Evaluation of clinical outcomes was performed with a focus on 4 main issues: surgical complications, functional outcome, cosmetic outcome, and patient satisfaction. The additional time needed to perform orbitotomy and orbital reconstruction was also evaluated.

RESULTS

The permanent postoperative complications included forehead hypesthesia (41.4%) and dysesthesia (15.3%), frontal muscle weakness (10.3%), exophthalmos (1.4%), enophthalmos (4.1%), diplopia (6.6%; 2% were related to surgical approach), and persistent periorbital and eyelid swelling (3%). Approximately 90% of the patients reported subjectively that surgery did not affect their quality of life or complained of only minor problems that did not influence their quality of life significantly. The mean time needed for orbitotomy and orbital reconstruction was approximately half an hour.

CONCLUSIONS

Comprehensive knowledge of the potential complications and overall clinical outcomes of the FOZ approach can be of great utility to neurosurgeons in balancing the well-known benefits of the approach with potential additional morbidities.

Free access

Results of volume-staged fractionated Gamma Knife radiosurgery for large complex arteriovenous malformations: obliteration rates and clinical outcomes of an evolving treatment paradigm

Alberto Franzin, Pietro Panni, Giorgio Spatola, Antonella del Vecchio, Alberto L. Gallotti, Carmen R. Gigliotti, Andrea Cavalli, Carmine A. Donofrio, and Pietro Mortini

OBJECTIVE

There are few reported series regarding volume-staged Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) for the treatment of large, complex, cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). The object of this study was to report the results of using volume-staged Gamma Knife radiosurgery for patients affected by large and complex AVMs.

METHODS

Data from 20 patients with large AVMs were prospectively included in the authors' AVM database between 2004 and 2012. A staging strategy was used when treating lesion volumes larger than 10 cm3. Hemorrhage and seizures were the presenting clinical feature for 6 (30%) and 8 (40%) patients, respectively. The median AVM volume was 15.9 cm3 (range 10.1–34.3 cm3). The mean interval between stages (± standard deviation) was 15 months (± 9 months). The median margin dose for each stage was 20 Gy (range 18–25 Gy).

RESULTS

Obliteration was confirmed in 8 (42%) patients after a mean follow-up of 45 months (range 19–87 months). A significant reduction (> 75%) of the original nidal volume was achieved in 4 (20%) patients. Engel Class I–II seizure status was reported by 75% of patients presenting with seizures (50% Engel Class I and 25% Engel Class II) after radiosurgery. After radiosurgery, 71.5% (5/7) of patients who had presented with a worsening neurological deficit reported a complete resolution or amelioration. None of the patients who presented acutely because of hemorrhage experienced a new bleeding episode during follow-up. One (5%) patient developed radionecrosis that caused sensorimotor hemisyndrome. Two (10%) patients sustained a bleeding episode after GKRS, although only 1 (5%) was symptomatic. High nidal flow rate and a time interval between stages of less than 11.7 months were factors significantly associated with AVM obliteration (p = 0.021 and p = 0.041, respectively). Patient age younger than 44 years was significantly associated with a greater than 75% reduction in AVM volume but not with AVM obliteration (p = 0.024).

CONCLUSIONS

According to the results of this study, volume-staged GKRS is an effective and safe treatment strategy for large, complex, cerebral AVMs for which microsurgery or endovascular approaches could carry substantially higher risks to the patient. Radiation doses up to 20 Gy can be safely administered. The time interval between stages should be shorter than 11.7 months to increase the chance of obliteration. High nidal flow and a patient age younger than 44 years were factors associated with nidus obliteration and significant nidus reduction, respectively.

Open access

Gamma Knife radiosurgery for cluster-tic syndrome unresponsive to medical treatment: illustrative case

Lina R. Barzaghi, Edoardo Pompeo, Luigi Albano, Antonella Del Vecchio, and Pietro Mortini

BACKGROUND

Cluster-tic syndrome is a disorder characterized by the coexistence of symptoms related to both cluster headache and trigeminal neuralgia. Etiopathogenesis is not yet well defined. Medical treatment, including drugs for both cluster headache and trigeminal neuralgia, is the first therapeutic choice, whereas more invasive treatments are indicated in the case of pharmacological therapy failure or in the presence of drug side effects. To date, no randomized and/or large cohort trials describing Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) for cluster-tic syndrome are available, probably due to the syndrome’s rarity.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors describe the case of a 76-year-old woman with refractory cluster-tic syndrome who underwent GKRS with double target (the retrogasserian portion of the trigeminal nerve and the sphenopalatine ganglion). The Numerical Rating Scale (NRS) of pain and the Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) pain intensity score before treatment were 7 (up to 10 during paroxysmal pain attacks) and V, respectively. At last follow-up, 24 months after GKRS, the patient had discontinued her pain medications and NRS and BNI pain scores were 1 and I, respectively. No trigeminal sensory disorders were reported.

LESSONS

The present case shows that GKRS, in selected cases, could be an effective treatment in patients with refractory cluster-tic syndrome.

Full access

Evaluation of hearing function after Gamma Knife surgery of vestibular schwannomas

Alberto Franzin, Giorgio Spatola, Carlo Serra, Piero Picozzi, Marzia Medone, Davide Milani, Paola Castellazzi, and Pietro Mortini

Object

Due to technological advances in neuroradiology in recent years, incidental diagnoses of vestibular schwannomas (VSs) have increased. The aim of this study was to evaluate the hearing function after treatment with Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) for VSs in patients adequately selected with “good” or “useful” hearing before treatment and to assess the possible predictive factors for hearing function preservation.

Methods

Of all patients treated in the authors' hospital between 2001 and 2007, they retrospectively studied 50 patients with a unilateral VS in whom there was serviceable hearing (Gardner-Robertson [GR] Class I or II). Additional inclusion criteria were: no Type 2 neurofibromatosis, no previous treatment, and at least 6 months' follow-up of neuroradiological and audiological data. The median patient age was 54 years (range 24–78 years). The median tumor volume was 0.73 ml (range 0.03–6.6 ml), and the median radiation dose to the tumor margin was 13 Gy (range 12–16 Gy) with an isodose of 50%.

Results

Patient age, tumor volume, and presenting symptoms were found to correlate with hearing function. At a median of 36 months after radiosurgery, tumor growth control was 96% and no patient required any other additional treatment. Serviceable hearing was preserved in 34 patients (68%): 21 (62%) with GR Class I hearing and 13 (38%) with GR Class II hearing. The remaining 16 patients had poor hearing function:15 with GR Class III and 1 with GR Class IV hearing function. In 19 (58%) of 33 patients with GR Class I function before GKS the same class was maintained posttreatment; 29 (88%) maintained functional hearing (GR Class I or II). In all patients with an intracanalicular lesion, functional hearing was maintained. Significant prognostic factors for maintaining serviceable hearing were GR Class I function before treatment, symptoms at presentation, patient age younger than 54 years, and Koos Stage T1 disease.

Conclusions

The results of the study show that the probability of preserving functional hearing in patients undergoing GKS treatment for unilateral VSs is very high. Patients with GR Class I, age younger than 54 years, with presenting symptoms other than hearing loss, and a Koos Stage T1 tumor have better prognosis. The prescribed dose of 13 Gy appears to represent an excellent compromise between controlling the disease and preserving auditory function.

Restricted access

Skull base chordomas: clinical outcome in a consecutive series of 45 patients with long-term follow-up and evaluation of clinical and biological prognostic factors

Nicola Boari, Filippo Gagliardi, Andrea Cavalli, Marco Gemma, Luca Ferrari, Paola Riva, and Pietro Mortini

OBJECTIVE

Skull base chordomas (SBCs) are rare dysembryogenetic invasive tumors with a variable tendency for recurrence. According to previous studies, the recurrence rate seems to be affected by both clinical variables and tumor biological features. The authors present the results of treatment of SBCs in a large series of patients and investigate the role of 1p36 chromosomal region loss of heterozygosity (LOH) as a prognostic factor.

METHODS

Between 1990 and 2011, 45 patients were treated for SBCs. The mean follow-up was 76 months (range 1–240 months). An LOH analysis was performed in 27 cases. Survival analysis was performed to determine clinical and biological parameters correlating with clinical outcome.

RESULTS

The 5- and 10-year overall survival rates were 67% and 57%, respectively. Five- and 10-year progression-free survival rates were 58% and 44%, respectively. Multivariate analysis showed that extent of resection, adjuvant radiation therapy, and absence of rhinopharynx invasion were positive independent predictors of overall survival. The latter 2 variables and a younger patient age were positive independent predictors of progression-free survival. Twenty-one patients showed 1p36 LOH. All events of recurrence and death clustered in the group of patients with 1p36 LOH; however, this biological marker was not statistically significant on multivariate analysis.

CONCLUSIONS

Resection is the treatment of choice in primary and recurrent SBC. Patient age, rhinopharynx invasion at diagnosis, extent of tumor removal, and postoperative radiation therapy influence SBC prognosis. Genetic analysis, even while showing interesting results, did not reveal 1p36 LOH as an independent predictor of clinical outcome.

Free access

Letter to the Editor: Gamma Knife radiosurgery for vestibular schwannoma

Matteo Alicandri-Ciufelli, Giacomo Pavesi, and Livio Presutti

Restricted access

Masseteric–facial nerve neurorrhaphy: results of a case series

Federico Biglioli, Valeria Colombo, Dimitri Rabbiosi, Filippo Tarabbia, Federica Giovanditto, Alessandro Lozza, Silvia Cupello, and Pietro Mortini

OBJECTIVE

Facial palsy is a well-known functional and esthetic problem that bothers most patients and affects their social relationships. When the time between the onset of paralysis and patient presentation is less than 18 months and the proximal stump of the injured facial nerve is not available, another nerve must be anastomosed to the facial nerve to reactivate its function. The masseteric nerve has recently gained popularity over the classic hypoglossus nerve as a new motor source because of its lower associated morbidity rate and the relative ease with which the patient can activate it. The aim of this work was to evaluate the effectiveness of masseteric–facial nerve neurorrhaphy for early facial reanimation.

METHODS

Thirty-four consecutive patients (21 females, 13 males) with early unilateral facial paralysis underwent masseteric–facial nerve neurorrhaphy in which an interpositional nerve graft of the great auricular or sural nerve was placed. The time between the onset of paralysis and surgery ranged from 2 to 18 months (mean 13.3 months). Electromyography revealed mimetic muscle fibrillations in all the patients. Before surgery, all patients had House-Brackmann Grade VI facial nerve dysfunction. Twelve months after the onset of postoperative facial nerve reactivation, each patient underwent a clinical examination using the modified House-Brackmann grading scale as a guide.

RESULTS

Overall, 91.2% of the patients experienced facial nerve function reactivation. Facial recovery began within 2–12 months (mean 6.3 months) with the restoration of facial symmetry at rest. According to the modified House-Brackmann grading scale, 5.9% of the patients had Grade I function, 61.8% Grade II, 20.6% Grade III, 2.9% Grade V, and 8.8% Grade VI. The morbidity rate was low; none of the patients could feel the loss of masseteric nerve function. There were only a few complications, including 1 case of postoperative bleeding (2.9%) and 2 local infections (5.9%), and a few patients complained about partial loss of sensitivity of the earlobe or a small area of the ankle and foot, depending on whether great auricular or sural nerves were harvested.

CONCLUSIONS

The surgical technique described here seems to be efficient for the early treatment of facial paralysis and results in very little morbidity.