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Zachary A. Seymour and Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Although recent efforts to advance the treatment of gliomas through radiotherapy and chemotherapy may seem to be a relatively new area of growth and development, these efforts have been in progress since the therapeutic potential of radiation therapy was discovered in the late 19th century. Cushing's use of brachytherapy has been mentioned several times in the literature without receiving an appropriate in-depth analysis. The reasoning behind Cushing's initial use of brachytherapy was not fully examined, and a close analysis of the outcomes of this therapy was not made. In addition, Cushing's use of his “radium bomb” occurred more commonly than the 3 cases previously documented. The authors reviewed all the patient records available at the Cushing Brain Tumor Registry—which represents the most complete series of patient records from the Cushing era—and selected those patients who underwent treatment with Cushing's “radium bomb.” The authors place these early attempts to optimize interstitial radiation of brain tumors in their historical perspective.

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Roberto Rey-Dios and Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Insular gliomas were traditionally considered a nonsurgical entity due to the high morbidity associated with resection. For the past 20 years, advances in microsurgical and brain mapping techniques have allowed neurosurgeons to resect insular gliomas with acceptable morbidity rates. Maximizing the extent of resection is nowadays the goal of surgery since this has proven to be an independent factor contributing to longer survival. Despite much progress, insular tumors remain a challenge for the neurosurgeon due to the complex anatomy of the region and technical expertise required to minimize morbidity during surgery. Herein, the authors describe the current surgical nuances, based on their experience and a literature review, that will allow the surgeon to achieve a thorough resection while ensuring patient safety. The key factors for successful surgery in the insular region include detailed knowledge of the surgical anatomy, mastery of the nuances of cortical and subcortical mapping methods, and meticulous microsurgical technique.

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Roberto Rey-Dios and Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GPN) is an uncommon facial pain syndrome often misdiagnosed as trigeminal neuralgia. The rarity of this condition and its overlap with other cranial nerve hyperactivity syndromes often leads to a significant delay in diagnosis. The surgical procedures with the highest rates of pain relief for GPN are rhizotomy and microvascular decompression (MVD) of cranial nerves IX and X. Neurovascular conflict at the level of the root exit zone of these cranial nerves is believed to be the cause of this pain syndrome in most cases. Vagus nerve rhizotomy is usually reserved for cases in which vascular conflict is not evident. A review of the literature reveals that although the addition of cranial nerve X rhizotomy may improve the chances of long-term pain control, this maneuver also increases the risk of permanent dysphagia and vocal cord paralysis. The risks of this procedure have to be carefully weighed against its benefits. Based on the authors' experience, careful patient selection with a thorough exploratory operation most often leads to identification of the site of vascular conflict, obviating the need for cranial nerve X rhizotomy.

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Brandon C. Lane and Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Object

The authors report on the use of a recently developed microscope-integrated fluorescent module using low-dose intravenous fluorescein for videoangiography during arteriovenous malformation (AVM) surgery.

Methods

The authors analyzed the application of a low-dose intraoperative fluorescein in 4 consecutive patients undergoing AVM surgery. The ability to distinguish the associated vessels of the AVM from normal vessels and to assess the degree of AVM obliteration based on videoangiography of venous drainage was specifically analyzed.

Results

All 4 patients underwent fluorescein angiography without complication. In each case, videoangiography confirmed recognition of feeding arteries and draining veins through the operating oculars under the fluorescent mode. In one case involving a large frontal AVM, videoangiography demonstrated mainly cortical veins on the surface of the AVM and alerted the senior author to first tackle the feeding arteries in the interhemispheric space. While evaluating the flow within the different draining veins after most of the AVM was disconnected, videoangiography also prioritized the order for disconnection of large draining veins to allow mobilization the AVM and exposure of the remaining deep arterial feeders. In the other 3 cases, videoangiography allowed easy recognition of the angioarchitecture of the AVMs, estimated its cortical boundaries, and most importantly, assessed the flow within the draining veins before their disconnection.

Conclusions

The authors found fluorescein videoangiography to be a useful adjunct in resection of AVMs. This technology offers the unique ability to visualize fluorescent vessels and nonfluorescent tissues in near-natural colors simultaneously and permits microsurgical manipulation of relevant structures under the fluorescent mode. Largerscale studies are needed to establish its efficacy and wider applicability.

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Mahdi Malekpour and Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Harvey Cushing played a pivotal role in establishing neurosurgery as a distinct surgical discipline. One of his most important contributions was defining the surgical removal of posterior fossa tumors. Compulsive preoperative evaluation followed by meticulous surgical technique as well as incorporation of maneuvers such as ventricular puncture and electrocautery further advanced resection of tumors in this region. Herein, the authors review Cushing's contributions to posterior fossa surgery.

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Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol and Dennis D. Spencer

✓Development of posterior fossa surgery remains Harvey Cushing's hallmark contribution to pediatric neurosurgery. During the era before Cushing, posterior fossa lesions were considered inoperable, and only osseous decompressive surgery was offered. The evolution of Cushing's surgical expertise from subtemporal decompressions to total extirpation of vascular fourth ventricular tumors, combined with a dramatic decrease in his operative mortality rate, reflects the maturation of modern neurosurgical techniques. A comprehensive review of the medical records of Cushing's pediatric patients treated between 1912 and 1932 revealed that procedures such as lateral ventricular puncture (to decrease cerebellar herniation), transvermian approach to midline tumors, and electrocoagulation were the key factors punctuating the path to his pioneering achievements in posterior fossa surgery. The outcome of such operations was improved by his recognition of the importance of tumor mural nodule in cyst recurrence, as well as elucidation of the histogenesis of pediatric posterior fossa tumors to tailor treatment including radiotherapy.

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Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol and Dennis D. Spencer

✓ The development of surgical techniques for the treatment of intracranial aneurysms has paralleled the evolution of the specialty of neurological surgery. During the Cushing era, intracranial aneurysms were considered inoperable and only ligation of the carotid artery was performed. Cushing understood the limitations of this approach and advised the need for a more thorough understanding of aneurysm pathology before further consideration could be given to the surgical treatment of cerebral aneurysms. Despite his focus on brain tumors, Cushing's contributions to the discipline of neurovascular surgery are of great importance. With the assistance of Sir Charles Symonds, Cushing described the syndrome of subarachnoid hemorrhage. He considered inserting muscle strips into cerebral aneurysms to promote aneurysm sac thrombosis and designed the “silver clip,” which was modified by McKenzie and later used by Dandy to clip the first intracranial aneurysm. Cushing was the first surgeon to wrap aneurysms in muscle fragments to prevent recurrent hemorrhage. He established the foundation on which pioneers such as Norman Dott and Walter Dandy launched the modern era of neurovascular surgery.

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Jonathan Russin and Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol