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Christoph Koch, Stefan Gottschalk, and Alf Giese

✓ The authors report on a patient presenting with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) that was initially attributed to an aneurysm of the right internal carotid artery. During surgical exploration and placement of a clip, however, it was observed that the aneurysm had not ruptured. Diagnostic workup including spinal magnetic resonance imaging revealed a vascular malformation of the lumbar spinal canal within a subarachnoid hematoma. Spinal angiography demonstrated a spinal dural arteriovenous fistula (DAVF) (Type I spinal arteriovenous malformation) with a feeding vessel arising from the L-4 radicular artery. In the literature, SAH due to spinal DAVFs is rare; only cases of dural fistulas of the craniocervical junction and the cervical spine have been reported. This is the first case of SAH that can be attributed to a lumbar DAVF. Although unusual even in cases of cervical DAVF, SAH as a presenting symptom may occur in spinal DAVF of any location. Nontraumatic SAH should not be prematurely attributed to the rupture of an intracranial aneurysm if the clinical findings and imaging results are inconclusive.

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Florian Grimm, Georgios Naros, Angelika Gutenberg, Naureen Keric, Alf Giese, and Alireza Gharabaghi

OBJECT

Frame-based stereotactic interventions are considered the gold standard for brain biopsies, but they have limitations with regard to flexibility and patient comfort because of the bulky head ring attached to the patient. Frameless image guidance systems that use scalp fiducial markers offer more flexibility and patient comfort but provide less stability and accuracy during drilling and biopsy needle positioning. Head-mounted robot-guided biopsies could provide the advantages of these 2 techniques without the downsides. The goal of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and safety of a robotic guidance device, affixed to the patient’s skull through a small mounting platform, for use in brain biopsy procedures.

METHODS

This was a retrospective study of 37 consecutive patients who presented with supratentorial lesions and underwent brain biopsy procedures in which a surgical guidance robot was used to determine clinical outcomes and technical procedural operability.

RESULTS

The portable head-mounted device was well tolerated by the patients and enabled stable drilling and needle positioning during surgery. Flexible adjustments of predefined paths and selection of new trajectories were successfully performed intraoperatively without the need for manual settings and fixations. The patients experienced no permanent deficits or infections after surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

The head-mounted robot-guided approach presented here combines the stability of a bone-mounted set-up with the flexibility and tolerability of frameless systems. By reducing human interference (i.e., manual parameter settings, calibrations, and adjustments), this technology might be particularly useful in neurosurgical interventions that necessitate multiple trajectories.

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Sven Rainer Kantelhardt, Jörg Larsen, Volker Bockermann, Wolfgang Schillinger, Alf Giese, and Veit Rohde

Object

Dorsal fixation with rods and pedicle screws (PSs) is the most frequently used surgery to correct traumatic and degenerative instabilities of the human spine. Prior to screw placement, screw holes are drilled along the vertebral pedicles. Despite the use of a variety of techniques, misplacement of screw holes, and consequently of the PSs, is a common problem. The authors investigated the usefulness of an intraspinal, intraosseous ultrasonography technique to determine the accuracy of drill hole positioning.

Methods

An endovascular ultrasound transducer was used for the intraluminal scanning of bore holes in trabecular bovine bone, 12 pedicle drill holes in cadaveric human spine, and 4 pedicle drill holes in a patient undergoing thoracic spondylodesis. Seven of the experimental bore holes in the cadaveric spine were placed optimally (that is, inside the pedicle) and 5 were placed suboptimally (breaching the medial or lateral cortical surface of the pedicle). Computed tomography scans were obtained in the patient and cadaveric specimen after the procedure.

Results

The image quality achieved in examinations of native bovine bone tissue, the formalin-fixed human spine specimen, and human vertebrae in vivo was equal. The authors endosonographically identified correct intrapedicular and intravertebral positions as well as poor (cortex breached) placement of drill holes.

Conclusions

Intraosseous ultrasonography is a promising technique for the investigation of PS holes prior to screw implantation, and may add to the safety of PS placement.

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Vivek Bose, Patrizio Caturegli, Jens Conrad, Wael Omran, Stephan Boor, Alf Giese, and Angelika Gutenberg

The distinction between autoimmune hypophysitis and other non–hormone secreting pituitary masses is often difficult to determine with certainty without pituitary biopsy and pathological examination. To aid in this distinction, the authors recently published a clinicoradiological scoring system, which they used in the case of a 15-year-old girl presented here. The patient presented with headache, visual field defects, polydipsia, and polyuria, and she was found to have secondary hypogonadism and hypoadrenalism. Magnetic resonance imaging showed a pituitary mass of approximately 2 cm in diameter. Application of the clinicoradiological parameters gave a score of −6, which favored a diagnosis of hypophysitis over that of adenoma. The presence of pituitary autoantibodies substantiated the diagnosis of hypophysitis. The patient was treated conservatively with high-dose prednisolone, and her symptoms improved markedly. This case illustrates the utility of using a clinicoradiological score when autoimmune hypophysitis is suspected since it can identify patients who can be treated without the need for pituitary surgery.

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Jens Conrad, Ali Ayyad, Christian Wüster, Wael Omran, Matthias M. Weber, Moritz A. Konerding, Wibke Müller-Forell, Alf Giese, and Joachim Oertel

OBJECTIVE

Over the past 2 decades, endoscopy has become an integral part of the surgical repertoire for skull base procedures. The present clinical evaluation and cadaver study compare binostril and mononostril endoscopic transnasal approaches and the surgical techniques involved.

METHODS

Forty patients with pituitary adenomas were treated with either binostril or mononostril endoscopic surgery. Neurosurgical, endocrinological, ophthalmological, and neuroradiological examinations were performed. Ten cadaver specimens were prepared, and surgical aspects of the preparation and neuroradiological examination were documented.

RESULTS

In the clinical evaluation, 0° optics were optimal in the nasal and sphenoidal phase of surgery for both techniques. For detection of tumor remnants, 30° optics were superior. The binostril approach was significantly more time consuming than the mononostril technique. The nasal retractor limited maneuverability of instruments during mononostril approaches in 5 of 20 patients. Endocrinological pituitary function, control of excessive hormone secretion, ophthalmological outcome, residual tumor, and rates of adverse events, such as CSF leaks and diabetes insipidus, were similar in both groups.

In the cadaver study, there was no significant difference in the time required for dissection via the binostril or mononostril technique. The panoramic view was superior in the binostril group; this was due to the possibility of wider opening of the sella in the craniocaudal and horizontal directions, but the need for removal of more of the nasal septum was disadvantageous.

CONCLUSIONS

Because of maneuverability of instruments and a wider view in the sphenoid sinus, the binostril technique is superior for resection of large tumors with parasellar and suprasellar expansion and tumors requiring extended approaches. The mononostril technique is preferable for tumors with limited extension in the intra- and suprasellar area.

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Eleftherios Archavlis, Lucas Serrano, Eike Schwandt, Amr Nimer, Moisés Felipe Molina-Fuentes, Tamim Rahim, Maximilian Ackermann, Angelika Gutenberg, Sven Rainer Kantelhardt, and Alf Giese

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to demonstrate the clinical and technical nuances of a minimally invasive, dorsolateral, tubular approach for partial odontoidectomy, autologous bone augmentation, and temporary C1–2 fixation to treat dens pseudarthrosis.

METHODS

A cadaveric feasibility study, a 3D virtual reality reconstruction study, and the subsequent application of this approach in 2 clinical cases are reported. Eight procedures were completed in 4 human cadavers. A minimally invasive, dorsolateral, tubular approach for odontoidectomy was performed with the aid of a tubular retraction system, using a posterolateral incision and an oblique approach angle. Fluoroscopy and postprocedural CT, using 3D volumetric averaging software, were used to evaluate the degree of bone removal of C1–2 lateral masses and the C-2 pars interarticularis. Two clinical cases were treated using the approach: a 23-year-old patient with an odontoid fracture and pseudarthrosis, and a 35-year-old patient with a history of failed conservative treatment for odontoid fracture.

RESULTS

At 8 cadaveric levels, the mean volumetric bone removal of the C1–2 lateral masses on 1 side was 3% ± 1%, and the mean resection of the pars interarticularis on 1 side was 2% ± 1%. The median angulation of the trajectory was 50°, and the median distance from the midline of the incision entry point on the skin surface was 67 mm. The authors measured the diameter of the working channel in relation to head positioning and assessed a greater working corridor of 12 ± 4 mm in 20° inclination, 15° contralateral rotation, and 5° lateral flexion to the contralateral side. There were no violations of the dura. The reliability of C-2 pedicle screws and C-1 lateral mass screws was 94% (15 of 16 screws) with a single lateral breach. The patients treated experienced excellent clinical outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

A minimally invasive, dorsolateral, tubular odontoidectomy and autologous bone augmentation combined with C1–2 instrumentation has the ability to provide excellent 1-stage management of an odontoid pseudarthrosis. The procedure can be completed safely and successfully with minimal blood loss and little associated morbidity. This approach has the potential to provide not only a less invasive approach but also a function-preserving option to treat complex C1–2 anterior disease.

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Naureen Keric, Christian Doenitz, Amer Haj, Izabela Rachwal-Czyzewicz, Mirjam Renovanz, Dominik M. A. Wesp, Stephan Boor, Jens Conrad, Alexander Brawanski, Alf Giese, and Sven R. Kantelhardt

Objective

Recent studies have investigated the role of spinal image guidance for pedicle screw placement. Many authors have observed an elevated placement accuracy and overall improvement of outcome measures. This study assessed a bi-institutional experience following introduction of the Renaissance miniature robot for spinal image guidance in Europe.

Methods

The medical records and radiographs of all patients who underwent robot-guided implantation of spinal instrumentation using the novel system (between October 2011 and March 2015 in Mainz and February 2014 and February 2016 in Regensburg) were reviewed to determine the efficacy and safety of the newly introduced robotic system. Screw position accuracy, complications, exposure durations to intraoperative radiation, and reoperation rate were assessed.

Results

Of the 413 surgeries that used robotic guidance, 406 were via a minimally invasive approach. In 7 cases the surgeon switched to conventional screw placement, using a midline approach, due to referencing problems. A total of 2067 screws were implanted using robotic guidance, and 1857 screws were evaluated by postoperative CT. Of the 1857 screws, 1799 (96.9%) were classified as having an acceptable or good position, whereas 38 screws (2%) showed deviations of 3–6 mm and 20 screws (1.1%) had deviations > 6 mm. Nine misplaced screws, implanted in 7 patients, required revision surgery, yielding a screw revision rate of 0.48% of the screws and 7 of 406 (1.7%) of the patients. The mean ± SD per-patient intraoperative fluoroscopy exposure was 114.4 (± 72.5) seconds for 5.1 screws on average and any further procedure required. Perioperative and direct postoperative complications included hemorrhage (2 patients, 0.49%) and wound infections necessitating surgical revision (20 patients, 4.9%).

Conclusions

The hexapod miniature robotic device proved to be a safe and robust instrument in all situations, including those in which patients were treated on an emergency basis. Placement accuracy was high; peri- and early postoperative complication rates were found to be lower than rates published in other series of percutaneous screw placement techniques. Intraoperative radiation exposure was found to be comparable to published values for other minimally invasive and conventional approaches.