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Adib A. Abla and Michael T. Lawton

Object

The authors describe their experience with intracranial-to-intracranial (IC-IC) bypasses for complex anterior cerebral artery (ACA) aneurysms with giant size, dolichoectatic morphology, or intraluminal thrombus; they determine how others have addressed the limitations of ACA bypass; and they discuss clinical indications and microsurgical technique.

Methods

A consecutive, single-surgeon experience with ACA aneurysms and bypasses over a 16-year period was retrospectively reviewed. Bypasses for ACA aneurysms reported in the literature were also reviewed.

Results

Ten patients had aneurysms that were treated with ACA bypass as part of their surgical intervention. Four patients presented with subarachnoid hemorrhage and 3 patients with mass effect symptoms from giant aneurysms; 1 patient with bacterial endocarditis had a mycotic aneurysm, and 1 patient's meningioma resection was complicated by an iatrogenic pseudoaneurysm. One patient had his aneurysm discovered incidentally. There were 2 precommunicating aneurysms (A1 segment of the ACA), 5 communicating aneurysms (ACoA), and 3 postcommunicating (A2–A3 segments of the ACA). In situ bypasses were used in 4 patients (A3-A3 bypass), interposition bypasses in 4 patients, reimplantation in 1 patient (pericallosal artery-to-callosomarginal artery), and reanastomosis in 1 patient (pericallosal artery). Complete aneurysm obliteration was demonstrated in 8 patients, and bypass patency was demonstrated in 8 patients. One bypass thrombosed, but 4 years later. There were no operative deaths, and permanent neurological morbidity was observed in 2 patients. At last follow-up, 8 patients (80%) were improved or unchanged. In a review of the 29 relevant reports, the A3-A3 in situ bypass was used most commonly, extracranial (EC)–IC interpositional bypasses were the second most common, and reanastomosis and reimplantation were used the least.

Conclusions

Anterior cerebral artery aneurysms requiring bypass are rare and can be revascularized in a variety of ways. Anterior cerebral artery aneurysms, more than any other aneurysms, require a thorough survey of patient-specific anatomy and microsurgical options before deciding on an individualized management strategy. The authors' experience demonstrates a preference for IC-IC reconstruction, but EC-IC bypasses are reported frequently in the literature. The authors conclude that ACA bypass with indirect aneurysm occlusion is a good alternative to direct clip reconstruction for complex ACA aneurysms.

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Adib A. Abla and Michael T. Lawton

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Alim P. Mitha, Jay D. Turner, Adib A. Abla, A. Giancarlo Vishteh and Robert F. Spetzler

Object

The management of intramedullary spinal cord cavernous malformations (CMs) is controversial. At Barrow Neurological Institute, the authors selectively offer surgical treatment for symptomatic spinal cord CMs. The purpose of this paper is to review the clinical outcomes in patients after resection of these lesions based on a single-center experience over a 25-year period.

Methods

The records of 80 patients who underwent resection of pathologically confirmed spinal cord CMs from January 1985 to May 2010 were analyzed retrospectively. Preoperative clinical status and imaging findings were evaluated as well as immediate and long-term postoperative outcomes.

Results

Compared with their preoperative Frankel grade, 11% of patients were worse, 83% were the same, and 6% improved immediately after surgery. At a mean follow-up interval of 5 years, 10% of patients were worse, 68% were the same, and 23% were improved compared with their preoperative status. Five percent of patients underwent reoperation for resection of a symptomatic residual or recurrent lesion. Immediate complications were encountered in 6% of patients, including CSF leakage and deep venous thrombosis. Long-term complications were encountered in 14% of patients and included kyphotic deformity, stenosis, and spinal cord tethering. A significant correlation was found between long-term outcome and anteroposterior length of the lesion (p = 0.01).

Conclusions

The resection of intramedullary spinal cord CMs can be achieved with good long-term outcomes and an acceptable risk of immediate or delayed complications.

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Matthew B. Potts, Darryl Lau, Adib A. Abla, Helen Kim, William L. Young and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECT

Resection is an appealing therapy for brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) because of its high cure rate, low complication rate, and immediacy, and has become the first-line therapy for many AVMs. To clarify safety, efficacy, and outcomes associated with AVM resection in the aftermath of A Randomized Trial of Unruptured Brain AVMs (ARUBA), the authors reviewed their experience with low-grade AVMs—the most favorable AVMs for surgery and the ones most likely to have been selected for treatment outside of ARUBA's randomization process.

METHODS

A prospective AVM registry was searched to identify patients with Spetzler-Martin Grade I and II AVMs treated using resection during a 16-year period.

RESULTS

Of the 232 surgical patients included, 120 (52%) presented with hemorrhage, 33% had Spetzler-Martin Grade I, and 67% had Grade II AVMs. Overall, 99 patients (43%) underwent preoperative embolization, with unruptured AVMs embolized more often than ruptured AVMs. AVM resection was accomplished in all patients and confirmed angiographically in 218 patients (94%). There were no deaths among patients with unruptured AVMs. Good outcomes (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score 0–1) were found in 78% of patients, with 97% improved or unchanged from their preoperative mRS scores. Patients with unruptured AVMs had better functional outcomes (91% good outcome vs 65% in the ruptured group, p = 0.0008), while relative outcomes were equivalent (98% improved/unchanged in patients with ruptured AVMs vs 96% in patients with unruptured AVMs).

CONCLUSIONS

Surgery should be regarded as the “gold standard” therapy for the majority of low-grade AVMs, utilizing conservative embolization as a preoperative adjunct. High surgical cure rates and excellent functional outcomes in patients with both ruptured and unruptured AVMs support a dominant surgical posture for low-grade AVMS, with radiosurgery reserved for risky AVMs in deep, inaccessible, and highly eloquent locations. Despite the technological advances in endovascular and radiosurgical therapy, surgery still offers the best cure rate, lowest risk profile, and greatest protection against hemorrhage for low-grade AVMs. ARUBA results are influenced by a low randomization rate, bias toward nonsurgical therapies, a shortage of surgical expertise, a lower rate of complete AVM obliteration, a higher rate of delayed hemorrhage, and short study duration. Another randomized trial is needed to reestablish the role of surgery in unruptured AVM management.

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Adib A. Abla, Timothy Uschold, Mark C. Preul and Joseph M. Zabramski

Object

The aim of this study was to describe a turkey wing model for microvascular anastomosis training and compare it to the previously outlined chicken wing model.

Methods

The authors compared diameter measurements in each of 5 turkey and 5 chicken brachial arteries at 3 equidistant points. Usable vessel length was measured (from joint to joint) in each of the specimens. A survey was created and distributed at a bypass training course to assess the attendees' impressions of various practice models used for bypass.

Results

The turkey wing brachial artery was consistently larger in diameter (p < 0.01) and longer (p < 0.01) than the chicken wing artery and showed less variability in the vessel diameter (1.47 ± 0.14 mm in the turkey vs 1.07 ± 0.25 mm in the chicken). In a survey of 15 bypass course participants, the live rat training model scored highest overall and was ranked as the best model for training; however, the turkey wing model was ranked second best and was consistently scored ahead of the chicken wing and silastic tube training models.

Conclusions

The authors' institutional preference has shifted to the use of a turkey wing artery as the initial model for microanastomosis training. Advantages in terms of vessel size and tissue durability favor this model over the chicken wing as part of a graduated instruction process.

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Adib A. Abla, Joseph C. Maroon, Richard Lochhead, Volker K. H. Sonntag, Adara Maroon and Melvin Field

Object

No published evidence indicates when patients can resume golfing after spine surgery. The objective of this study is to provide data from surveys sent to spine surgeons.

Methods

A survey of North American Spine Society members was undertaken querying the suggested timing of return to golf. Of 1000 spine surgeons surveyed, 523 responded (52.3%). The timing of recommended return to golf and the reasons were questioned for college/professional athletes and avid and recreational golfers of both sexes. Responses were tallied for lumbar laminectomy, lumbar microdiscectomy, lumbar fusion, and anterior cervical discectomy with fusion.

Results

The most common recommended time for return to golf was 4–8 weeks after lumbar laminectomy and lumbar microdiscectomy, 2–3 months after anterior cervical fusion, and 6 months after lumbar fusion. The results showed a statistically significant increase in the recommended time to resume golf after lumbar fusion than after cervical fusion in all patients (p < 0.01). The same holds true for the return to play after cervical fusion compared with either lumbar laminectomy or lumbar microdiscectomy for all golfer types (p < 0.01). There was a statistically significant shorter recommended time for professional and college golfers compared with noncompetitive golfers after lumbar fusion (p < 0.01), anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (p < 0.01), and lumbar microdiscectomy (p < 0.01).

Conclusions

The return to golf after spine surgery depends on many variables, including the general well-being of patients in terms of pain control and comfort when golfing. This survey serves as a guide that can assist medical practitioners in telling patients the average times recommended by surgeons across North America regarding return to golf after spine surgery.

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Adib A. Abla, Jeffrey Nelson, W. Caleb Rutledge, William L. Young, Helen Kim and Michael T. Lawton

Object

Patients with posterior fossa arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are more likely to present with hemorrhage than those with supratentorial AVMs. Observed patients subject to the AVM natural history should be informed of the individualized effects of AVM characteristics on the clinical course following a new, first-time hemorrhage. The authors hypothesize that the debilitating effects of first-time bleeding from an AVM in a previously intact patient with an unruptured AVM are more pronounced when AVMs are located in the posterior fossa.

Methods

The University of California, San Francisco prospective registry of brain AVMs was searched for patients with a ruptured AVM who had a pre-hemorrhage modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score of 0 and a post-hemorrhage mRS score obtained within 2 days of the hemorrhagic event. A total of 154 patients met the inclusion criteria for this study. Immediate post-hemorrhage presentation mRS scores were dichotomized into nonsevere outcome (mRS ≤ 3) and severe outcome (mRS > 3). There were 77 patients in each group. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses using severe outcome as the binary response were run. The authors also performed a logistic regression analysis to measure the effects of hematoma volume and AVM location on severe outcome.

Results

Posterior fossa location was a significant predictor of severe outcome (OR 2.60, 95% CI 1.20–5.67, p = 0.016) and the results were strengthened in a multivariate model (OR 4.96, 95% CI 1.73–14.17, p = 0.003). Eloquent location (OR 3.47, 95% CI 1.37–8.80, p = 0.009) and associated arterial aneurysms (OR 2.58, 95% CI 1.09, 6.10; p = 0.031) were also significant predictors of poor outcome. Hematoma volume for patients with a posterior fossa AVM was 10.1 ± 10.1 cm3 compared with 25.6 ±28.0 cm3 in supratentorial locations (p = 0.003). A logistic analysis (based on imputed hemorrhage volume values) found that posterior fossa location was a significant predictor of severe outcome (OR 8.03, 95% CI 1.20–53.77, p = 0.033) and logarithmic hematoma volume showed a positive, but not statistically significant, association in the model (p = 0.079).

Conclusions

Patients with posterior fossa AVMs are more likely to have severe outcomes than those with supratentorial AVMs based on this natural history study. Age, sex, and ethnicity were not associated with an increased risk of severe outcome after AVM rupture, but posterior fossa location, associated aneurysms, and eloquent location were associated with poor post-hemorrhage mRS scores. Posterior fossa hematomas are poorly tolerated, with severe outcomes observed even with smaller hematoma volumes. These findings support an aggressive surgical posture with respect to posterior fossa AVMs, both before and after rupture.

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Adib A. Abla, Cameron M. McDougall, Jonathan D. Breshears and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECT

Intracranial-to-intracranial (IC-IC) bypasses are alternatives to traditional extracranial-to-intracranial (EC-IC) bypasses to reanastomose parent arteries, reimplant efferent branches, revascularize branches with in situ donor arteries, and reconstruct bifurcations with interposition grafts that are entirely intracranial. These bypasses represent an evolution in bypass surgery from using scalp arteries and remote donor sites toward a more local and reconstructive approach. IC-IC bypass can be utilized preferentially when revascularization is needed in the management of complex aneurysms. Experiences using IC-IC bypass, as applied to posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) aneurysms in 35 patients, were reviewed.

METHODS

Patients with PICA aneurysms and vertebral artery (VA) aneurysms involving the PICA’s origin were identified from a prospectively maintained database of the Vascular Neurosurgery Service, and patients who underwent bypass procedures for PICA revascularization were included.

RESULTS

During a 17-year period in which 129 PICA aneurysms in 125 patients were treated microsurgically, 35 IC-IC bypasses were performed as part of PICA aneurysm management, including in situ p3-p3 PICA-PICA bypass in 11 patients (31%), PICA reimplantation in 9 patients (26%), reanastomosis in 14 patients (40%), and 1 V3 VA-to-PICA bypass with an interposition graft (3%). All aneurysms were completely or nearly completely obliterated, 94% of bypasses were patent, 77% of patients were improved or unchanged after treatment, and good outcomes (modified Rankin Scale ≤ 2) were observed in 76% of patients. Two patients died expectantly. Ischemic complications were limited to 2 patients in whom the bypasses occluded, and permanent lower cranial nerve morbidity was limited to 3 patients and did not compromise independent function in any of the patients.

CONCLUSIONS

PICA aneurysms receive the application of IC-IC bypass better than any other aneurysm, with nearly one-quarter of all PICA aneurysms treated microsurgically at our center requiring bypass without a single EC-IC bypass. The selection of PICA bypass is almost algorithmic: trapped aneurysms at the PICA origin or p1 segment are revascularized with a PICA-PICA bypass, with PICA reimplantation as an alternative; trapped p2 segment aneurysms are reanastomosed, bypassed in situ, or reimplanted; distal p3 segment aneurysms are reanastomosed or revascularized with a PICA-PICA bypass; and aneurysms of the p4 segment that are too distal for PICA-PICA bypass are reanastomosed. Interposition grafts are reserved for when these 3 primary options are unsuitable. A constructive approach that preserves the PICA with direct clipping or replaces flow with a bypass when sacrificed should remain an alternative to deconstructive PICA occlusion and endovascular coiling when complete aneurysm occlusion is unlikely.

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Timothy Uschold, Adib A. Abla, David Fusco, Ruth E. Bristol and Peter Nakaji

Object

The heterogeneous clinical manifestations and operative characteristics of pathological entities in the pineal region represent a significant challenge in terms of patient selection and surgical approach. Traditional surgical options have included endoscopic transventricular resection; open supratentorial microsurgical approaches through the midline, choroidal fissure, lateral ventricle, and tentorium; and supracerebellar infratentorial (SCIT) approaches through the posterior fossa. The object of the current study was to review the preoperative characteristics and outcomes for a cohort of patients treated purely via the novel endoscopically controlled SCIT approach.

Methods

A single-institution series of 9 consecutive patients (4 male and 5 female patients [10 total cases]; mean age 21 years, range 6–37 years) treated via the endoscopically controlled SCIT approach for a pathological entity in the pineal region was retrospectively reviewed. The mean follow-up time was 13.2 months.

Results

The endoscopically controlled SCIT approach was successfully used to approach a variety of pineal lesions, including pineal cysts (6 patients), epidermoid tumor, WHO Grade II astrocytoma (initial biopsy and recurrence), and malignant mixed germ cell tumor (1 patient each). Gross-total resection and/or adequate cyst fenestration was achieved in 8 cases. Biopsy with conservative debulking was performed for the single case of low-grade astrocytoma and again at the time of recurrence.

The mean preoperative tumor and cyst volumes were 9.9 ± 4.4 and 3.7 ± 3.2 cm3, respectively. The mean operating times were 212 ± 71 minutes for tumor cases and 177 ± 72 minutes for cysts. Estimated blood loss was less than 150 ml for all cases. A single case (pineal cyst) was converted to an open microsurgical approach to enhance visualization. There were no operative complications, as well as no documented CSF leaks, additional CSF diversion procedures, or air emboli. Seven patients underwent concomitant third ventriculostomy into the quadrigeminal cistern. At the time of the last follow-up evaluation, all patients had a stable or improved modified Rankin Scale score.

Conclusions

The endoscopically controlled SCIT approach may be used for the biopsy and resection of appropriately selected solid tumors of the pineal region, in addition to the fenestration and/or resection of pineal cysts. Preoperative considerations include patient presentation, anticipated disease and vascularity, degree of local venous anatomical distortion, and selection of optimal paramedian trajectory.

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Sandipan Pati, Reena G Rastogi, Adib A. Abla, Harold L. Rekate and Yu-Tze Ng

Object

Gelastic seizures are epileptic events characterized by bouts of laughter. They are rare and mostly associated with hypothalamic hamartomas (HHs). Status gelasticus, a rare form of status epilepticus, is defined as a prolonged cluster of gelastic seizures (> 20–30 minutes) without necessarily involving loss of awareness between seizures. Emergency resection of the hamartoma is highly effective in these situations and should be considered as early as possible. The authors retrospectively reviewed their surgical cases to document the success, complications, and long-term follow-up after emergency resection of HHs for status gelasticus.

Methods

The authors report on a retrospective case series from a single tertiary care center. Three patients who presented with status gelasticus underwent emergency resection of HHs. Demographic details, seizure history, medical treatment, and postoperative follow-up data were evaluated. Long-term follow-up (minimum 2 years) data were obtained either from the last clinic visit notes or via telephone and e-mail contacts. The institutional review board at St. Joseph's Hospital approved this study.

Results

In the last 7 years, of 157 patients who underwent HH resection, the resection was performed on an emergency basis for status gelasticus in 3 cases. At emergency surgery, these 3 patients ranged in age from 9 months to 3.5 years. All of the patients were boys. Delalande and Fohlen Type II, III, and IV lesions were present in the 3 patients. Surgical approaches for resection of HH included an orbitozygomatic, transcallosal anterior interforniceal approach and endoscopic resection. Status gelasticus was terminated following emergency surgery in all cases, and 1 patient was seizure free. Postsurgical complications included, in 1 case, a small right thalamic infarct with mild transient left hemiparesis, which completely resolved within 2 days. Within 2 years of their original surgery, 2 patients underwent further elective surgeries (endoscopic resection and radiosurgery for persistent symptomatic seizures). Follow-up since their most recent surgery ranged from 8 months to 2 years. Two patients were seizure free and 1 patient had greater than 50% reduction in seizures.

Conclusions

Status gelasticus associated with HHs can be successfully terminated by emergency resection of the HH. Long-term follow-up in the present series suggests good seizure freedom results or at least greater than 50% reduction in seizures, although repeat operations were necessary.