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Decompressive hemicraniectomy after malignant middle cerebral artery infarction: rationale and controversies

Omar M. Arnaout, Salah G. Aoun, H. Hunt Batjer, and Bernard R. Bendok

Malignant middle cerebral artery stroke carries a very poor prognosis. Significant retrospective data support the hypothesis that decompressive hemicraniectomy decreases mortality rates due to this disease entity. Recently, 3 randomized controlled studies have been published and shed light on these issues and enhance the quality of evidence revolving around this procedure. In this review, the rationale, risks, benefits, and unanswered questions related to hemicraniectomy for acute ischemic stroke are reviewed with an emphasis on how 3 randomized trials have influenced knowledge on this life-saving yet controversial procedure. Further randomized studies are needed to clarify lingering questions regarding age indications and impact on quality of life.

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Surgical correction of proximal junctional kyphosis

Jamal McClendon, Richard Shindell, Karl R. Abi-Aad, Ahmad Kareem Almekkawi, Tanmoy Maiti, and Bernard R. Bendok

This 3D video showcases the surgical techniques for patients with proximal junctional kyphosis. The surgical repair for patients with proximal junctional kyphosis is an individualized approach depending on patient history and imaging with adequate surgical measurements. This video will shed light on two cases with proximal junctional kyphosis and the method taken for their repair. The first case is of an 11-year-old female known to have osteogenesis imperfecta and status post T5–L3 posterior spinal fusion with segmental instrumentation. The patient underwent change of older instruments and scoliosis repair, with full correction on postoperative x-ray. The second patient is a 16-year-old male known to have cerebral palsy and kyphoscoliosis status post spinal fusion. The patient underwent scoliosis repair surgery with replacement of old instrumentation and scoliosis correction.

The video can be found here:

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Radiosurgery for angiographically occult vascular malformations

Martin Pham, Bradley A. Gross, Bernard R. Bendok, Issam A. Awad, and H. Hunt Batjer

The use of radiosurgery for angiographically occult vascular malformations (AOVMs) is a controversial treatment option for those that are surgically inaccessible or located in eloquent brain. To determine the efficacy of this treatment, the authors reviewed the literature reporting hemorrhage rates, seizure control, and radiation-induced morbidity. They found overall hemorrhage rates of 2–6.4%, overall postradiosurgery hemorrhage rates of 1.6–8%, and stratified postradiosurgery hemorrhage rates of 7.3–22.4% in the period immediately to 2 years after treatment; these latter rates declined to 0.8–5.2% > 2 years after treatment. Of 291 patients presenting with seizure across 16 studies, 89 (31%) attained a seizure-free status and 102 (35%) had a reduction in seizure frequency after radiosurgery. Overall radiation-induced morbidity ranged from 2.5 to 59%, with higher complication rates in patients with brainstem lesion locations. Researchers applying mean radiation doses of 15–16.2 Gy to the tumor margin saw both low radiationinduced complication rates (0–9.1%) and adequate hemorrhage control (0.8–5.2% > 2 years after treatment), whereas mean doses ≥ 16.5 Gy were associated with higher total radiation-induced morbidity rates (> 17%). Although the use of stereotactic radiosurgery remains controversial, patients with AOVMs located in surgically inaccessible areas of the brain may benefit from such treatment.

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Unruptured intracranial aneurysms and the assessment of rupture risk based on anatomical and morphological factors: sifting through the sands of data

Rohan R. Lall, Christopher S. Eddleman, Bernard R. Bendok, and H. Hunt Batjer

Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage continues to have high rates of morbidity and mortality for patients despite optimal medical and surgical management. Due to the fact that aneurysmal rupture can be such a catastrophic event, preventive treatment is desirable for high-risk lesions. Given the variability of the literature evaluating unruptured aneurysms regarding basic patient population, clinical practice, and aneurysm characteristics studied, such as size, location, aspect ratio, relationship to the surrounding vasculature, and the aneurysm hemodynamics, a metaanalysis is nearly impossible to perform. This review will instead focus on the various anatomical and morphological characteristics of aneurysms reported in the literature with an attempt to draw broad inferences and serve to highlight pressing questions for the future in our continued effort to improve clinical management of unruptured intracranial aneurysms.

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Cavernous carotid aneurysms: to treat or not to treat?

Christopher S. Eddleman, Michael C. Hurley, Bernard R. Bendok, and H. Hunt Batjer

Most cavernous carotid aneurysms (CCAs) are considered benign lesions, most often asymptomatic, and to have a natural history with a low risk of life-threatening complications. However, several conditions may exist in which treatment of these aneurysms should be considered. Several options are currently available regarding the management of CCAs with resultant good outcomes, namely expectant management, luminal preservation strategies with or without addressing the aneurysm directly, and Hunterian strategies with or without revascularization procedures. In this article, we discuss the sometimes difficult decision regarding whether to treat CCAs. We consider the natural history of several types of CCAs, the clinical presentation, the current modalities of CCA management and their outcomes to aid in the management of this heterogeneous group of cerebral aneurysms.

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Moyamoya disease: functional and neurocognitive outcomes in the pediatric and adult populations

David G. Weinberg, Rudy J. Rahme, Salah G. Aoun, H. Hunt Batjer, and Bernard R. Bendok


Moyamoya disease is an occlusive cerebrovascular disorder commonly resulting in neurocognitive impairment. The cognitive outcome parameters commonly affected are intelligence, memory, executive function, and quality of life. In this paper, the authors review the existing literature on cognitive and clinical outcomes in adult and pediatric moyamoya populations separately.


A systematic review of the cognitive and clinical outcome literature was performed using the PubMed/MEDLINE database. Outcomes data were contrasted between adult and pediatric populations.


Intelligence is the main cognitive outcome parameter affected in pediatric patients with moyamoya disease, whereas adults most commonly suffer from executive function impairment. Memory has not been studied sufficiently in pediatric patients, and its dysfunction in the adult population remains controversial. Quality of life has not been studied appropriately in either population. Surgical revascularization is the only beneficial treatment option, and a combination of direct and indirect bypass techniques has shown benefit, but the impact on the above-mentioned parameters has not been sufficiently elucidated.


Moyamoya disease affects the cognition and daily function in pediatric patients to a greater extent than in adult patients. Due to the rarity of the disease, there is a distinct lack of high-level evidence regarding cognitive and clinical outcomes.

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Moyamoya disease: a review of histopathology, biochemistry, and genetics

David G. Weinberg, Omar M. Arnaout, Rudy J. Rahme, Salah G. Aoun, H. Hunt Batjer, and Bernard R. Bendok


Moyamoya disease (MMD) is a rare cerebrovascular disorder involving stenosis of the major vessels of the circle of Willis and proximal portions of its principal branches. Despite concerted investigation, the pathophysiology of the disorder has not been fully elucidated. Currently, the major proteins believed to play an active role in the pathogenesis include vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), transforming growth factor–β1 (TGFβ1), and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF). In terms of the genetics, recent literature suggests a low penetrance autosomal dominant or polygenic mode of transmission involving chromosomes 3, 6, 8, 12, and 17 for familial MMD. This review summarizes the current knowledge on the histopathology, pathophysiology and genetics of MMD.


A PubMed/Medline systematic study of the literature was performed, from which 45 articles regarding MMD pathophysiology were identified and analyzed.


Moyamoya disease is characterized by the intimal thickening and media attenuation of the proximal vessels of the circle of Willis as well as the development of an aberrant distal vascular network. The primary proteins that are currently implicated in the pathophysiology of MMD include VEGF, bFGF, HGF, TGFβ1, and G-CSF. Furthermore, the current literature on familial MMD has pointed to a low penetrance autosomal dominant or polygenic mode of transmittance at loci on chromosomes 3, 6, 8, 12, and 17.

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Update on current registries and trials of carotid artery angioplasty and stent placement

Sunit Das, Bernard R. Bendok, Christopher C. Getch, Issam A. Awad, and H. Hunt Batjer

Stroke remains the leading cause of disability in adults and the third leading cause of death in the US. Carotid artery (CA) occlusive disease is the primary pathophysiological source of 10 to 20% of all strokes. Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with both symptomatic and asymptomatic extracranial CA stenosis. Carotid artery angioplasty and stent placement has recently emerged as an alternative to CEA for primary and secondary prevention of stroke related to CA stenosis. With the advent of the embolic protection device, the safety of CA angioplasty and stent placement has approached, if not surpassed, that of CEA. In particular, the former has come to be considered as a first-line therapy in the management of CA stenotic disease in individuals at high risk for complications related to surgical intervention. Preliminary data from multiple registries have demonstrated that CA angioplasty and stent placement is an effective means of treating CA stenosis. The results of the Stenting and Angioplasty with Protection in Patients at High Risk for Endarterectomy trial have demonstrated that this modality has a significant role in the management of CA disease in symptomatic and asymptomatic patients with risk factors for high rates of surgery-related morbidity or mortality. With the completion of the Carotid Revascularization Endarterectomy versus Stent Trial, the role of CA angioplasty and stent placement in the prevention of stroke in all individuals with significant CA stenosis should be better demarcated. This treatment modality promises to assume a central role in stroke prophylaxis in patients with CA disease who are at high risk for complications related to surgery.

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Surgical management of unruptured posterior carotid artery wall aneurysms

Brian A. O'Shaughnessy, Christopher C. Getch, Bernard R. Bendok, and H. Hunt Batjer

Intracranial aneurysms arising from the posterior wall of the supraclinoid carotid artery are extremely common lesions. The aneurysm dilation typically occurs in immediate proximity to the origin of the posterior communicating artery and, less commonly, the anterior choroidal artery (AChA). Because of the increasingly widespread use of non-invasive neuroimaging methods to evaluate patients believed to harbor cerebral lesions, many of these carotid artery aneurysms are now documented in their unruptured state, prior to occurrence of subarachnoid hemorrhage. Based on these factors, the management of unruptured posterior carotid artery (PCA) wall aneurysms is an important element of any neurosurgical practice.

Despite impressive recent advances in endovascular therapy, the placement of microsurgical clips to exclude aneurysms with preservation of all afferent and efferent vasculature remains the most efficacious and durable therapy. To date, an optimal outcome is only achieved when the neurosurgeon is able to combine systematic preoperative neurovascular assessment with meticulous operative technique. In this report, the authors review their surgical approach to PCA wall aneurysms, which is greatly based on the extensive neurovascular experience of the senior author. Focus is placed on their methods of preoperative evaluation and operative technique, with emphasis on neurovascular anatomy and the significance of oculomotor nerve compression. They conclude by discussing surgery-related complications, with a particular focus on intraoperative rupture of aneurysms and their management, and the postoperative ischemic AChA syndrome.

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Microsurgical resection of infratentorial arteriovenous malformations

Brian A. O'shaughnessy, Christopher C. Getch, Bernard R. Bendok, and H. Hunt Batjer

Successful microsurgical resection of an infratentorial arteriovenous malformation (AVM) requires both surgical skill and intraoperative judgment. Extensive practical experience in treating these complex lesions, which is acquired over many years, is of substantial value during each new operation. The authors present the surgical approaches and techniques used for the treatment of posterior fossa AVMs based largely on the strategies acquired and developed by the senior author (H.H.B.). Emphasis is placed on conceptual principles of AVM excision, as well as principles incorporated for the treatment of each specific type of infratentorial malformation.