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Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Sirin Gandhi, Mark C. Preul and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Exposure of the vertebral artery (VA) between C-1 and C-2 vertebrae (atlantoaxial VA) may be necessary in a variety of pathologies of the craniovertebral junction. Current methods to expose this segment of the VA entail sharp dissection of muscles close to the internal jugular vein and the spinal accessory nerve. The present study assesses the technique of exposing the atlantoaxial VA through a newly defined muscular triangle at the craniovertebral junction.

METHODS

Five cadaveric heads were prepared for surgical simulation in prone position, turned 30°–45° toward the side of exposure. The atlantoaxial VA was exposed through the subatlantic triangle after reflecting the sternocleidomastoid and splenius capitis muscles inferiorly. The subatlantic triangle was formed by 3 groups of muscles: 1) the levator scapulae and splenius cervicis muscles inferiorly and laterally, 2) the longissimus capitis muscle inferiorly and medially, and 3) the inferior oblique capitis superiorly. The lengths of the VA exposed through the triangle before and after unroofing the C-2 transverse foramen were measured.

RESULTS

The subatlantic triangle consistently provided access to the whole length of atlantoaxial VA. The average length of the VA exposed via the subatlantic triangle was 19.5 mm. This average increased to 31.5 mm after the VA was released at the C-2 transverse foramen.

CONCLUSIONS

The subatlantic triangle provides a simple and straightforward pathway to expose the atlantoaxial VA. The proposed method may be useful during posterior approaches to the craniovertebral junction should early exposure and control of the atlantoaxial VA become necessary.

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Justin R. Mascitelli, Sirin Gandhi, Ali Tayebi Meybodi and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Pathology in the region of the basilar quadrifurcation, anterolateral midbrain, medial tentorium, and interpeduncular and ambient cisterns may be accessed anteriorly via an orbitozygomatic (OZ) craniotomy. In Part 1 of this series, the authors explored the anatomy of the oculomotor-tentorial triangle (OTT). In Part 2, the versatility of the OTT as a surgical workspace for treating vascular pathology is demonstrated.

METHODS

Sixty patients with 61 vascular pathologies treated within or via the OTT from 1998 to 2017 by the senior author were retrospectively reviewed. Patients were grouped together based on pathology/surgical procedure and included 1) aneurysms (n = 19); 2) posterior cerebral artery (PCA)/superior cerebellar artery (SCA) bypasses (n = 24); 3) brainstem cavernous malformations (CMs; n = 14); and 4) tentorial region dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs; n = 4). The majority of patients were approached via an OZ craniotomy, wide sylvian fissure split, and temporal lobe mobilization to widen the OTT.

RESULTS

Aneurysm locations included the P1-P2 junction (n = 7), P2A segment (n = 9), P2/3 (n = 2), and basilar quadrification (n = 1). Aneurysm treatments included clip reconstruction (n = 12), wrapping (n = 3), proximal occlusion (n = 2), and trapping with (n = 1) or without (n = 1) bypass. Pathologies in the bypass group included vertebrobasilar insufficiency (VBI; n = 3) and aneurysms of the basilar trunk (n = 13), basilar apex (n = 4), P1 PCA (n = 2), and s1 SCA (n = 2). Bypasses included M2 middle cerebral artery (MCA)–radial artery graft (RAG)–P2 PCA (n = 8), M2 MCA–saphenous vein graft (SVG)–P2 PCA (n = 3), superficial temporal artery (STA)–P2 PCA (n = 5) or STA–s1 SCA (n = 3), s1 SCA–P2 PCA (n = 1), V3 vertebral artery (VA)–RAG–s1 SCA (n = 1), V3 VA–SVG–P2 PCA (n = 1), anterior temporal artery–s1 SCA (n = 1), and external carotid artery (ECA)–SVG–s1 SCA (n = 1). CMs were located in the midbrain (n = 10) or pontomesencephalic junction (n = 4). dAVFs drained into the tentorial, superior petrosal, cavernous, and sphenobasal sinuses. High rates of aneurysm occlusion (79%), bypass patency (100%), complete CM resection (86%), and dAVF obliteration (100%) were obtained. The overall rate of permanent oculomotor nerve palsy was 8.3%. The majority of patients in the aneurysm (94%), CM (93%), and dAVF (100%) groups had stable or improved modified Rankin Scale scores.

CONCLUSIONS

The OTT is an important anatomical triangle and surgical workspace for vascular lesions in and around the crural and ambient cisterns. The OTT can be used to approach a wide variety of vascular pathologies in the region of the basilar quadrifurcation and anterolateral midbrain.

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Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Arnau Benet and Michael T. Lawton

The V3 segment of the vertebral artery (VA) has been studied in various clinical scenarios, such as in tumors of the craniovertebral junction and dissecting aneurysms. However, its use as a donor artery in cerebral revascularization procedures has not been extensively studied. In this report, the authors summarize their clinical experience in cerebral revascularization procedures using the V3 segment as a donor. A brief anatomical description of the relevant techniques is also provided.

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Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Michael T. Lawton, Xuequan Feng and Arnau Benet

OBJECTIVE

Reimplantation of the posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) to the vertebral artery (VA) is a safe and effective bypass option after deliberate PICA sacrifice during the treatment of nonsaccular and dissecting aneurysms at this location. However, the anatomy and limitations of this technique have not been studied. The goal of this study was to define the surgical anatomy and buffer lengths specific to the proximal segment of the PICA related to 2 variations of PICA reimplantation: 1) reimplantation “along-VA” (simulating a dissecting VA aneurysm), and 2) reimplantation “across-VA” (simulating a nonclippable, proximal PICA aneurysm).

METHODS

Ten cadaver heads (20 sides) were prepared for surgical simulation. Twenty far-lateral approaches were performed. The PICA was mobilized and reimplanted onto the VA according to 2 different paradigms: 1) transposition along the axis of the VA (along-VA) to simulate a dissecting VA, and 2) transposition perpendicular to the axis of the VA (across-VA) to simulate a nonclippable, proximal PICA aneurysm. The buffer lengths provided by mobilization of the artery in each paradigm were measured and the anatomy of perforator branching on the proximal PICAs was analyzed.

RESULTS

The PICA was reimplanted in all surgical simulations. The most common perforating artery on the P1 and P2 segments was the short circumflex type. No direct perforator was found on the P1 segment. The mean buffer length with reimplantation along the VA axis was 13.43 ± 4.61 mm, and it was 6.97 ± 4.04 mm with reimplantation across the VA. The PICA was less maneuverable when it was reimplanted across the VA, due to perforator branches of the PICA (P3 segment).

CONCLUSIONS

The buffer lengths measured in this study describe the limitations of PICA reimplantation as a revascularization procedure for nonsaccular aneurysms in this location. PICA reimplantation is a revascularization option for dissecting VA aneurysms incorporating the PICA origin that are < 13 mm in length, and for nonsaccular proximal PICA aneurysms that are < 6 mm in diameter. The final decision to reimplant the PICA depends on careful inspection of perforator anatomy that is not visible preoperatively on angiography, as well as an assessment of technical difficulty intraoperatively.

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Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Michael T. Lawton, Halima Tabani and Arnau Benet

OBJECTIVE

Surgical access to the lateral recess of the fourth ventricle (LR) is suboptimal with existing transvermian and telovelar approaches because of limited lateral exposure, significant retraction of the cerebellar tonsil, and steep trajectories near brainstem perforator arteries. The goal in this study was to assess surgical exposure of the tonsillobiventral fissure approach to the LR, and to describe the relevant anatomy.

METHODS

Two formaldehyde-fixed cerebella were used to study the anatomical relationships of the LR. Also, the tonsillobiventral fissure approach was simulated in 8 specimens through a lateral suboccipital craniotomy.

RESULTS

The pattern of the cerebellar folia and the cortical branches of the posterior inferior cerebellar artery were key landmarks to identifying the tonsillobiventral fissure. Splitting the tonsillobiventral fissure allowed a direct and safe surgical trajectory to the LR and into the cerebellopontine cistern. The proposed approach reduces cervical flexion and optimizes the surgical angle of attack.

CONCLUSIONS

The tonsillobiventral fissure approach is a feasible and effective option for exposing the LR. This approach has more favorable trajectories and positions for the patient and the surgeon, and it should be added to the armamentarium for lesions in this location.

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Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Michael T. Lawton, Dylan Griswold, Pooneh Mokhtari, Andre Payman and Arnau Benet

OBJECTIVE

The anterior temporal artery (ATA) supplies an area of the brain that, if sacrificed, does not cause a noticeable loss of function. Therefore, the ATA may be used as a donor in intracranial-intracranial (IC-IC) bypass procedures. The capacities of the ATA as a donor have not been studied previously. In this study, the authors assessed the feasibility of using the ATA as a donor for revascularization of different segments of the distal middle cerebral artery (MCA).

METHODS

The ATA was studied in 15 cadaveric specimens (8 heads, excluding 1 side). First, the cisternal segment of the artery was untethered from arachnoid adhesions and small branches feeding the anterior temporal lobe and insular cortex, to evaluate its capacity for a side-to-side bypass to insular, opercular, and cortical segments of the MCA. Any branch entering the anterior perforated substance was preserved. Then, the ATA was cut at the opercular-cortical junction and the capacity for an end-to-side bypass was assessed.

RESULTS

From a total of 17 ATAs, 4 (23.5%) arose as an early MCA branch. The anterior insular zone and the frontal parasylvian cortical arteries were the best targets (in terms of mobility and caliber match) for a side-to-side bypass. Most of the insula was accessible for end-to-side bypass, but anterior zones of the insula were more accessible than posterior zones. End-to-side bypass was feasible for most recipient cortical arteries along the opercula, except for posterior temporal and parietal regions. Early ATAs reached significantly farther on the insular MCA recipients than non-early ATAs for both side-to-side and end-to-side bypasses.

CONCLUSIONS

The ATA is a robust arterial donor for IC-IC bypass procedures, including side-to-side and end-to-side techniques. The evidence provided in this work supports the use of the ATA as a donor for distal MCA revascularization in well-selected patients.

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Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Leandro Borba Moreira, Andrew S. Little, Michael T. Lawton and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs) are increasingly being incorporated into the neurosurgeon’s armamentarium for treatment of various pathologies, including paraclinoid aneurysms. However, few anatomical assessments have been performed on the use of EEA for this purpose. The aim of the present study was to provide a comprehensive anatomical assessment of the EEA for the treatment of paraclinoid aneurysms.

METHODS

Five cadaveric heads underwent an endonasal transplanum-transtuberculum approach to expose the paraclinoid area. The feasibility of obtaining proximal and distal internal carotid artery (ICA) control as well as the topographic location of the origin of the ophthalmic artery (OphA) relative to dural landmarks were assessed. Limitations of the EEA in exposing the supraclinoid ICA were also recorded to identify favorable paraclinoid ICA aneurysm projections for EEA.

RESULTS

The extracavernous paraclival and clinoidal ICAs were favorable segments for establishing proximal control. Clipping the extracavernous ICA risked injury to the trigeminal and abducens nerves, whereas clipping the clinoidal segment put the oculomotor nerve at risk. The OphA origin was found within 4 mm of the medial opticocarotid point on a line connecting the midtubercular recess point to the medial vertex of the lateral opticocarotid recess. An average 7.2-mm length of the supraclinoid ICA could be safely clipped for distal control. Assessments showed that small superiorly or medially projecting aneurysms were favorable candidates for clipping via EEA.

CONCLUSIONS

When used for paraclinoid aneurysms, the EEA carries certain risks to adjacent neurovascular structures during proximal control, dural opening, and distal control. While some authors have promoted this approach as feasible, this work demonstrates that it has significant limitations and may only be appropriate in highly selected cases that are not amenable to coiling or clipping. Further clinical experience with this approach helps to delineate its risks and benefits.

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Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Wendy Huang, Arnau Benet, Olivia Kola and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECT

Management of complex aneurysms of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) can be challenging. Lesions not amenable to endovascular techniques or direct clipping might require a bypass procedure with aneurysm obliteration. Various bypass techniques are available, but an algorithmic approach to classifying these lesions and determining the optimal bypass strategy has not been developed. The objective of this study was to propose a comprehensive and flexible algorithm based on MCA aneurysm location for selecting the best of multiple bypass options.

METHODS

Aneurysms of the MCA that required bypass as part of treatment were identified from a large prospectively maintained database of vascular neurosurgeries. According to its location relative to the bifurcation, each aneurysm was classified as a prebifurcation, bifurcation, or postbifurcation aneurysm.

RESULTS

Between 1998 and 2015, 30 patients were treated for 30 complex MCA aneurysms in 8 (27%) prebifurcation, 5 (17%) bifurcation, and 17 (56%) postbifurcation locations. Bypasses included 8 superficial temporal artery–MCA bypasses, 4 high-flow extracranial-to-intracranial (EC-IC) bypasses, 13 IC-IC bypasses (6 reanastomoses, 3 reimplantations, 3 interpositional grafts, and 1 in situ bypass), and 5 combination bypasses. The bypass strategy for prebifurcation aneurysms was determined by the involvement of lenticulostriate arteries, whereas the bypass strategy for bifurcation aneurysms was determined by rupture status. The location of the MCA aneurysm in the candelabra (Sylvian, insular, or opercular) determined the bypass strategy for postbifurcation aneurysms. No deaths that resulted from surgery were found, bypass patency was 90%, and the condition of 90% of the patients was improved or unchanged at the most recent follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

The bypass strategy used for an MCA aneurysm depends on the aneurysm location, lenticulostriate anatomy, and rupture status. A uniform bypass strategy for all MCA aneurysms does not exist, but the algorithm proposed here might guide selection of the optimal EC-IC or IC-IC bypass technique.

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André Beer-Furlan, Diego A. Servián, Ricardo L. Carrau and Daniel M. Prevedello