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Nancy McLaughlin, Aaron Cutler and Neil A. Martin

The supraorbital keyhole approach offers a limited access for aneurysms located at the middle cerebral artery (MCA) bifurcation with long M1 segments or proximal M2 aneurysms. Alternative minimally invasive routes centered on the pterion have been developed to address these aneurysms. Appropriate dissection and reconstruction of the temporal muscle are important for optimal exposure and best cosmetic results with the pterional keyhole craniotomy. The authors describe the technical nuances of temporal muscle dissection and reconstruction adapted to the pterional keyhole craniotomy.

After incising the scalp in a curvilinear fashion behind the hairline, an interfascial dissection is performed, allowing anterior reflection of the superficial temporal fat pat and superficial temporal fascia. The temporal muscle is incised 7–10 mm below its insertion at the superior temporal line. The deep temporal fascia and temporal muscle are incised vertically, completing a T-shaped incision. Subperiosteal dissection of both muscle flaps preserves the deep temporal arteries and nerves. A craniotomy measuring 2.5–3 cm in diameter, based anteriorly at the pterion, is made over the sylvian fissure. Dissection of the sylvian fissure and of MCA aneurysms can proceed without the use of retractors. The bone flap and associated hardware is entirely covered by the temporal muscle, which is reconstructed in 2 layers: the temporal muscle/deep temporal fascia and the superficial temporal fascia.

This dissection technique prevents damage to branches of the facial nerve and minimizes temporal muscle damage. Dividing the temporal muscle vertically and reflecting both parts anteriorly and posteriorly prevents suboptimal illumination and visualization under the microscope. Covering the bone flap and related hardware with a multilayer anatomical reconstruction optimizes cosmetic results.

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William T. Couldwell, Aaron Cutler and Jayson A. Neil

Giant aneurysms present a challenge to cerebrovascular surgeons on many fronts. These lesions have significant mass effect on surrounding tissues and are often partially thrombosed with thickened or calcified walls; these difficulties are amplified in cases of subarachnoid hemorrhage. The treatment of these lesions often requires debulking or resection of the aneurysm with or without trapping and bypassing the aneurysm segment. The case presented is of a man with a ruptured giant left middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysm presenting with seizure. The treatment of this giant aneurysm involves dissection, opening and internal evacuation including the use of ultrasonic aspiration, resection, and clipping. The patient was given aspirin preoperatively in preparation for possible superficial temporal artery-MCA or saphenous vein bypass if clipping was not possible. Vessel patency was evaluated using intraoperative Doppler and indocyanine green angiography. Intraoperative somatosensory and motor evoked potential monitoring is performed in all cases. Postoperatively, the patient was neurologically intact. At 1 year his modified Rankin Scale is 1, with his only symptom being intermittent headache.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/8dimNdiIObE.

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Marcus D. Mazur, Aaron Cutler, William T. Couldwell and Philipp Taussky

Meningiomas that invade the transverse or sigmoid sinuses are uncommon tumors that are challenging to treat surgically. Although the risk of recurrence is associated with the extent of resection, complete removal of meningiomas in these locations must be balanced with avoidance of venous outflow obstruction, which could cause venous infarction and significant neurological consequences. When a meningioma occludes a venous sinus completely, gross-total resection of the intravascular portion is commonly performed. When the tumor invades but does not completely obliterate a major venous sinus, however, opinions differ on whether to accept a subtotal resection or to open the sinus, perform a complete resection, and reconstruct the venous outflow tract. In this paper, the authors review the different strategies used to treat these lesions and provide illustrative case examples.

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Aaron R. Cutler, Sean W. Kaloostian, Akira Ishiyama and John G. Frazee

Object

Vestibular nerve sectioning is an accepted surgical treatment option for patients with medically refractory Ménière disease. In this paper the authors introduce and evaluate a 2-handed endoscopic-directed technique for vestibular nerve section.

Methods

Eleven patients underwent a retrosigmoid craniectomy for endoscopic-directed vestibular nerve sectioning as treatment for intractable vertigo associated with Ménière disease. In all patients, identification and dissection of the cranial nerve VII/VIII complex was performed entirely under endoscopic guidance. The authors used the specially designed Frazee II neuroendoscope, consisting of a traditional endoscope lens with a microsuction attachment.

Results

Vestibular nerve sectioning was completed in all 11 patients. Postoperative improvement in vertiginous episodes was achieved in 10 patients (91%). Auditory function was noted to be worse postoperatively in only 1 patient (9%). The same patient also developed a House-Brackmann Grade III facial nerve palsy, which improved gradually over time. There were no further complications, including no delayed CSF leaks.

Conclusions

The endoscopic-directed approach represents a safe and effective method for performing vestibular nerve sectioning. Until now, the endoscope has been used primarily as an adjunct to the operating microscope in surgery at the cerebellopontine angle. In addition, previous endoscopic techniques typically require a third hand to manipulate the endoscope. With the 2-handed endoscopic-directed technique, however, the endoscope is used as the primary means of visualization, and the unique design of this endoscope allows for a bimanual procedure without the requirement of a cosurgeon. Advantages of using this technique compared with the microscope include superior brightness at close distances, greater depth of field, increased maneuverability within small regions, and an improved ability to visualize objects not in a direct line of sight. Among other things, this allows for minimally invasive openings, decreased cerebellar retraction, and better identification of nerve cleavage planes and vascular anatomy.

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Aaron R. Cutler, Saquib Siddiqui, Mohan Avinash L., Virany H. Hillard, Franco Cerabona and Kaushik Das

Object

Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) is an accepted alternative to circumferential fusion of the lumbar spine in the treatment of degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, and recurrent disc herniation. To maintain disc height while arthrodesis takes place, the technique requires the use of an interbody spacer. Although titanium cages are used in this capacity, the two most common spacers are polyetheretherketone (PEEK) cages and femoral cortical allografts (FCAs). The authors compared the clinical and radiographic outcomes of patients who underwent TLIF with pedicle screw fixation, in whom either a PEEK cage or an FCA was placed as an interbody spacer.

Methods

The charts and x-ray films obtained in 39 patients (age range 33–68 years, mean 44.7 years) who underwent single-level TLIF between October 2001 and April 2004 and in whom either a PEEK cage (18 patients) or FCA (21 patients) was placed as an interbody spacer were evaluated in a retrospective study. Radiological outcome was based on fusion rate and a comparison of the initial postoperative lordotic angle on standing lateral radiographs with that at long-term follow up (mean follow up 15.1 months, minimum 12 months). To control for variations in radiographic magnification, the authors used lordotic angle as an indirect measure of disc space height. Clinical outcome was assessed using the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI).

There were no major complications in either group. Radiographically documented fusion occurred in all patients in the PEEK group and 95.2% of those in the FCA group. Pseudarthrosis developed in one patient in the FCA group, and this patient underwent additional surgery. In both groups, the mean lordotic angle changed by less than 2.20° during the postoperative period, and the mean postoperative ODI score was more than 40 points lower than the mean preoperative score. There was no significant difference between the two groups in mean change in lordotic angle (p = 0.415) and mean change in ODI score (p = 0.491).

Conclusions

Both PEEK cages and FCAs are highly effective in promoting interbody fusion, maintaining postoperative disc space height, and achieving desirable clinical outcomes in patients who undergo TLIF with pedicle screw fixation. The advantages of PEEK cages include a lower incidence of subsidence and their radiolucency, which permits easier visualization of bone growth.