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Erminia Albanese, Antonino Russo, and Arthur J. Ulm

Vertebrobasilar junction (VBJ) aneurysms are uncommon and are often found in association with basilar artery (BA) fenestration. The complex anatomical environment of the VBJ, and the complicated geometry of the fenestration make clipping of these aneurysms difficult. Therefore, endovascular treatment of these aneurysms is now widely accepted.

The authors describe the case of a 43-year-old woman with sickle cell anemia. She presented with subarachnoid hemorrhage. Digital subtraction angiography was performed and depicted multiple intracranial aneurysms. The patient had a left superior hypophysial artery aneurysm, a right superior cerebellar artery–posterior cerebral artery aneurysm, and a VBJ aneurysm associated with a fenestration of the BA. The VBJ aneurysm was not identified on the initial angiogram and was only revealed after 3D rotational angiography was performed. The 3D reconstruction was critical to the understanding of the complex geometry associated with the fenestrated BA. The VBJ was reconstructed using a combination endovascular technique. The dominant limb of the fenestration was stented and balloon-assisted coiling was performed, followed by sacrifice of the nondominant vertebral artery using coils and the embolic agent Onyx. Postoperative angiography demonstrated successful occlusion of the aneurysm with reconstruction of the VBJ.

To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of a fenestrated VBJ aneurysm treated with the combination of stenting, balloon remodeling, coiling, and vessel sacrifice. Three-dimensional angiography was critical in making the correct diagnosis of the source of the subarachnoid hemorrhage and with operative planning.

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Necmettin Tanriover, Arthur J. Ulm, Albert L. Rhoton Jr., and Alexandre Yasuda

Object. The two most common surgical routes to the fourth ventricle are the transvermian and telovelar approaches. The purpose of this study was to compare the microanatomy and exposures gained through these approaches.

Methods. Ten formalin-fixed specimens were dissected in a stepwise manner to simulate the transvermian and telovelar surgical approaches. Stealth image guidance was used to compare the exposures and working angles obtained using these approaches.

The transvermian and telovelar approaches provided access to the entire rostrocaudal length of the fourth ventricle floor from the aqueduct to the obex. In addition, both approaches provided access to the entire width of the floor of the fourth ventricle. The major difference between the two approaches regarded the exposure of the lateral recess and the foramen of Luschka. The telovelar, but not the transvermian, approach exposed the lateral and superolateral recesses and the foramen of Luschka. The transvermian approach, which offered an incision through at least the lower third of the vermis, afforded a modest increase in the operator's working angle compared with the telovelar approach when accessing the rostral half of the fourth ventricle.

Conclusions. The transvermian approach provides slightly better visualization of the medial part of the superior half of the roof of the fourth ventricle. The telovelar approach, which lacks incision of any part of the cerebellum, provides an additional exposure to the lateral recesses and the foramen of Luschka.

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Maria Peris-Celda, Francesca Graziano, Vittorio Russo, Robert A. Mericle, and Arthur J. Ulm

Object

Foramen ovale (FO) puncture allows for trigeminal neuralgia treatment, FO electrode placement, and selected biopsy studies. The goals of this study were to demonstrate the anatomical basis of complications related to FO puncture, and provide anatomical landmarks for improvement of safety, selective lesioning of the trigeminal nerve (TN), and optimal placement of electrodes.

Methods

Both sides of 50 dry skulls were studied to obtain the distances from the FO to relevant cranial base references. A total of 36 sides from 18 formalin-fixed specimens were dissected for Meckel cave and TN measurements. The best radiographic projection for FO visualization was assessed in 40 skulls, and the optimal trajectory angles, insertion depths, and topographies of the lesions were evaluated in 17 specimens. In addition, the differences in postoperative pain relief after the radiofrequency procedure among different branches of the TN were statistically assessed in 49 patients to determine if there was any TN branch less efficiently targeted.

Results

Most severe complications during FO puncture are related to incorrect needle placement intracranially or extracranially. The needle should be inserted 25 mm lateral to the oral commissure, forming an approximately 45° angle with the hard palate in the lateral radiographic view, directed 20° medially in the anteroposterior view. Once the needle reaches the FO, it can be advanced by 20 mm, on average, up to the petrous ridge. If the needle/radiofrequency electrode tip remains more than 18 mm away from the midline, injury to the cavernous carotid artery is minimized. Anatomically there is less potential for complications when the needle/radiofrequency electrode is advanced no more than 2 mm away from the clival line in the lateral view, when the needle pierces the medial part of the FO toward the medial part of the trigeminal impression in the petrous ridge, and no more than 4 mm in the lateral part. The 40°/45° inferior transfacial–20° oblique radiographic projection visualized 96.2% of the FOs in dry skulls, and the remainder were not visualized in any other projection of the radiograph. Patients with V1 involvement experienced postoperative pain more frequently than did patients with V2 or V3 involvement. Anatomical targeting of V1 in specimens was more efficiently achieved by inserting the needle in the medial third of the FO; for V2 targeting, in the middle of the FO; and for V3 targeting, in the lateral third of the FO.

Conclusions

Knowledge of the extracranial and intracranial anatomical relationships of the FO is essential to understanding and avoiding complications during FO puncture. These data suggest that better radiographic visualization of the FO can improve lesioning accuracy depending on the part of the FO to be punctured. The angles and safety distances obtained may help the neurosurgeon minimize complications during FO puncture and TN lesioning.

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Necmettin Tanriover, Albert L. Rhoton Jr., Masatou Kawashima, Arthur J. Ulm, and Alexandre Yasuda

Object. The purpose of this study was to define the topographic anatomy, arterial supply, and venous drainage of the insula and sylvian fissure.

Methods. The neural, arterial, and venous anatomy of the insula and sylvian fissure were examined in 43 cerebral hemispheres.

Conclusions. The majority of gyri and sulci of the frontoparietal and temporal opercula had a constant relationship to the insular gyri and sulci and provided landmarks for approaching different parts of the insula. The most lateral lenticulostriate artery, an important landmark in insular surgery, arose 14.6 mm from the apex of the insula and penetrated the anterior perforated substance 15.3 mm medial to the limen insulae. The superior trunk of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) and its branches supplied the anterior, middle, and posterior short gyri; the anterior limiting sulcus; the short sulci; and the insular apex. The inferior trunk supplied the posterior long gyrus, inferior limiting sulcus, and limen area in most hemispheres. Both of these trunks frequently contributed to the supply of the central insular sulcus and the anterior long gyrus. The areas of insular supply of the superior and inferior trunks did not overlap. The most constant insular area of supply by the cortical MCA branches was from the prefrontal and precentral arteries that supplied the anterior and middle short gyri, respectively. The largest insular perforating arteries usually arose from the central and angular arteries and most commonly entered the posterior half of the central insular sulcus and posterior long gyrus. Insular veins drained predominantly to the deep middle cerebral vein, although frequent connections to the superficial venous system were found. Of all the insular veins, the precentral insular vein was the one that most commonly connected to the superficial sylvian vein.

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Scott Simon, Tom Yao, Arthur J. Ulm, Benjamin P. Rosenbaum, and Robert A. Mericle

The authors report dural sinus thrombosis diagnosed in 2 patients based on noninvasive imaging results, which were revealed to be dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) diagnosed using digital subtraction (DS) angiography. The first patient was a 63-year-old man who presented with headaches. Magnetic resonance venography was performed and suggested dural sinus thrombosis of the left transverse sinus and jugular vein. He was administered warfarin anticoagulation therapy but then suffered multiple intracranial hemorrhages. A DS angiogram was requested for a possible dural sinus thrombectomy, but the DS angiogram revealed a DAVF. The patient underwent serial liquid embolization with complete obliteration of the DAVF. The second patient, an 11-year-old boy, also presented with headaches and was diagnosed with dural sinus thrombosis on MR imaging. A DS angiogram was also requested for a possible thrombectomy and revealed a DAVF. This patient underwent serial liquid embolization and eventual operative resection. These reports emphasize that different venous flow abnormalities can appear similar on noninvasive imaging and that proper diagnosis is critical to avoid contraindicated therapies.

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Necmettin Tanriover, Masatou Kawashima, Albert L. Rhoton Jr, Arthur J. Ulm, and Robert A. Mericle

Object. The cortical arteries arising from the main trunk of the middle cerebral artery, proximal to its bifurcation or trifurcation, are called “early branches.” The purpose of this study was to characterize these early branches.

Methods. The early branches were characterized according to their sites and patterns of origin, diameters, and relative proximity to the internal carotid artery bifurcation, as well as the course and area of supply of their cortical branches based on an examination of 50 hemispheres. Special attention was directed to the perforating arteries that arose from the early branches and entered the anterior perforated substance. The anatomical findings were compared with data obtained from 109 angiograms.

Conclusions. Early branches directed to the temporal and frontal lobes were found in 90 and 32% of the hemispheres, respectively. The early branches that arose more proximally from the M1 segment were larger than those arising distally. Lenticulostriate arteries arose from 81% of the early frontal branches (EFBs) and from 48% of the early temporal branches (ETBs). An average of two cortical arteries arose from the EFBs and 1.3 from the ETBs, the most common of which supplied the temporopolar and orbitofrontal areas. Although the microsurgical anatomy of the early branches demonstrates abundant diversity, they can be classified into clearly defined patterns based on anatomical features. These patterns can prove helpful in evaluating angiographic data and in planning an operative procedure.

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Vittorio M. Russo, Francesca Graziano, Maria Peris-Celda, Antonino Russo, and Arthur J. Ulm

Object

Iatrogenic injury of the V2 segment of the vertebral artery (VA) is a rare but serious complication and can be catastrophic. The purpose of this study was to characterize the relationship of the V2 segment of the VA to the surrounding anatomical structures and to highlight the potential site and mechanisms of injury that can occur during common neurosurgical procedures involving the subaxial cervical spine.

Methods

Ten adult cadaveric specimens (20 sides) were included in this study. Quantitative anatomical measurements between selected landmarks and the VA were obtained. In addition, lateral mass screws were placed bilaterally, from C-3 to C-7, reproducing either the Magerl technique or a modified technique. The safety angle, defined as the axial deviation from the screw trajectory needed to injure the VA, and the distance from the entry point to the VA were measured at each level for both techniques.

Results

The VA coursed closer to the midline at C3–4 and C4–5 (mean distance [SD] 14.9 ± 1.1 mm) than at C2–3 or C5–6. Within the intertransverse space it coursed closer to the uncinate processes of the vertebral bodies (1.8 ± 1.1 mm) than to the anterior tubercle of the transverse processes (3.4 ± 1.6 mm). The distance between the VA and the uncinate process was less at C3–6 (1.3 ± 0.7 mm) than at C2–3 (3.3 ± 0.8 mm). The VA coursed on average at a distance of 11.9 ± 1.7 mm from the anterior and 4.2 ± 2.6 mm from the posterior aspect of the intervertebral disc space. Lateral mass screw angles were 25° lateral and 39.1° cranial for the Magerl technique, and 36.6° lateral and 46.1° cranial for the modified technique. The safety angle was greater and screw length longer when using this modified technique.

Conclusions

The relation of the V2 segment of the VA to anterior procedures and lateral mass instrumentation at the subaxial cervical spine was reviewed in this study. A detailed anatomical knowledge of the V2 segment of the VA combined with careful preoperative imaging is mandatory for safe cervical spine surgery.

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Antonino Russo, Erminia Albanese, Monica Quiroga, and Arthur J. Ulm

Object

Approaching the C2–3 disc level is challenging because of its location behind the mandible and the vital neurovascular structures overlying the area. The purpose of this study was to illustrate in a stepwise fashion the microsurgical anatomy of the submandibular approach to the C2–3 disc.

Methods

Ten adult formalin-fixed cadaveric specimens (20 sides) were studied. Particular attention was paid to the structures limiting the exposure. The authors measured the distance between the inferior border of the mandible and the marginal mandibular branch of the facial nerve running inferior to the mandible, the distance between the horizontal segment of the hypoglossal nerve and the hyoid bone, and the distance between the horizontal segment of the hypoglossal nerve and the mandible. They compared the location of the superior laryngeal nerve with regard to the submandibular and the standard Smith-Robinson approaches. A clinical case illustrating the usefulness of the surgical technique in this region is presented.

Results

The mean distance between the inferior border of the mandible and the lowest point of the marginal mandibular branch of the facial nerve was 6.7 ± 1.69 mm. The hypoglossal nerve's mean distance above the hyoid bone was 8.4 ± 1.78 mm and below the mandible was 19.6 ± 6.39 mm. The internal branch of the superior laryngeal nerve, with respect to the cervical spine, always entered the thyrohyoid membrane just inferior to the C-3 vertebral body. The superior laryngeal nerve was found to be an impediment to approaching the C2–3 disc through the standard Smith-Robinson approach.

Conclusions

The submandibular approach provides excellent exposure, with a perpendicular view of the C2–3 disc level. This approach is one of the options to be considered when dealing with high cervical pathologies.

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Erminia Albanese, Antonino Russo, Monica Quiroga, Rhett N. Willis Jr., Robert A. Mericle, and Arthur J. Ulm

Object

Vasospasm is one of the leading causes of morbidity and death following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Many patients suffer devastating strokes despite the best medical therapy. Endovascular treatment is the last line of defense for cases of medically refractory vasospasm. The authors present a series of patients who were treated with a prolonged intraarterial infusion of verapamil through an in-dwelling microcatheter.

Methods

Over a 1-year period 12 patients with medically refractory vasospasm due to aneurysmal SAH were identified. Data were retrospectively collected, including age, sex, Hunt and Hess grade, Fisher grade, aneurysm location, aneurysm treatment, day of the onset of vasospasm, intracranial pressure, mean arterial pressures, intraarterial treatment of vasospasm, dosages and times of verapamil infusion, presence of a new ischemic area on CT scan, modified Rankin scale score at discharge and at the last clinical follow-up, and discharge status.

Results

Twenty-seven treatments were administered. Between 25 and 360 mg of verapamil was infused per vessel (average dose per vessel 164.6 mg, range of total dose per treatment 70–720 mg). Infusion times ranged from 1 to 20.5 hours (average 7.8 hours). The number of treated vessels ranged from 1 to 7 per patient. The number of treatments per patients ranged from 1 to 4. There was no treatment-related morbidity or death. Blood pressure and intracranial pressure changes were transient and rapidly reversible. Among the 36 treated vessels, prolonged verapamil infusion was completely effective in 32 cases and partially effective in 4. Only 4 vessels required angioplasty for refractory vasospasm after prolonged verapamil infusion. There was no CT scanning evidence of new ischemic events in 9 of the 12 patients treated. At last clinical follow-up 6–12 months after discharge, 8 of 11 patients had a modified Rankin Scale score ≤2.

Conclusions

Prolonged intraarterial infusion of verapamil is a safe and effective treatment for medically refractory severe vasospasm and reduces the need for angioplasty in such cases.

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Arthur J. Ulm, Monica Quiroga, Antonino Russo, Vittorio M. Russo, Francesca Graziano, Angel Velasquez, and Erminia Albanese

Object

The authors undertook this cadaveric and angiographic study to examine the microsurgical anatomy of the V3 segment of the vertebral artery (VA) and its relationship to osseous landmarks. A detailed knowledge of these variations is important when performing common neurosurgical procedures such as the suboccipital craniotomy and the far-lateral approach and when placing atlantoaxial instrumentation.

Methods

A total of 30 adult cadaveric specimens (59 sides) were studied using magnification × 3 to × 40 after perfusion of the arteries and veins with colored silicone. Seventy-three vertebral angiograms were also analyzed. The morphological detail of the V3 segment was described and measured in both the cadavers and angiograms. Transarticular screws were placed into 2 cadavers and the relationship of the trajectory to the V3 segment was analyzed.

Results

The authors identified 4 sites along the V3 segment that are anatomically the most likely to be injured during surgical approaches to the craniovertebral junction. In 35% of the cadaveric specimens the vertical portion of V3 formed a posteriorly oriented loop that could be injured during surgical exposures of the dorsal surface of C-2. The mean distance from the midline to the most posteromedial edge of the loop was 25.6 ± 3.5 mm (range 20–35 mm) on the left side and 30.4 ± 3.8 mm (range 23–36 mm) on the right side. On lateral angiograms, this loop projected posteriorly, with a mean distance of 9.8 ± 3.5 mm (range 0–15.7 mm) on the right side and 11.7 ± 1.2 mm (range 10–13.6 mm) on the left side. The horizontal segment of V3 can be injured when exposing the lower lateral occipital bone and when the C-1 arch is exposed. The mean distance from the inferior border of the occipital bone to the superior surface of the horizontal segment of V3 was 6 ± 2.8 mm on the right side and 5.6 ± 2.3 mm on the left. In 12% of cases the authors found no space between the horizontal portion of V3 and the occipital bone. The medial edge of the horizontal segment of V3 was located 23 ± 5.5 mm (range 10–30 mm) from the midline on the right side and 24 ± 5.7 mm (range 15–32 mm) on the left side. The transition between the V2–V3 segments after exiting the C-2 vertebral foramen is the most likely site of injury when placing C1–2 transarticular screws or C-2 pars screws.

Conclusions

The normal variation of the V3 segment of the VA has been described with quantitative measurements. An awareness of the anatomical variations and the relationships to the surrounding bony anatomy will aid in reducing VA injury during suboccipital approaches, exposure of the dorsal surfaces of C-1 and C-2, and when placing atlantoaxial spinal instrumentation.