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Bruno C. Flores, Benjamin P. Boudreaux, Daniel R. Klinger, Bruce E. Mickey and Samuel L. Barnett

Foramen magnum meningiomas (FMMs) are slow growing, most often intradural and extramedullary tumors that pose significant challenges to the skull base neurosurgeon. The indolent clinical course of FMMs and their insidious onset of symptoms are important factors that contribute to delayed diagnosis and relative large size at the time of presentation. Symptoms are often produced by compression of surrounding structures (such as the medulla oblongata, upper cervical spinal cord, lower cranial nerves, and vertebral artery) within a critically confined space. Since the initial pathological description of a FMM in 1872, various surgical approaches have been described with the aim of achieving radical tumor resection. The surgical treatment of FMMs has evolved considerably over the last 4 decades due to the progress in microsurgical techniques and development of a multitude of skull base approaches. Posterior and posterolateral FMMs can be safely resected via a standard midline suboccipital approach. However, controversy still exits regarding the optimal management of anterior or anterolateral lesions. Independently of technical variations and the degree of bone removal, all modern surgical approaches to the lower clivus and anterior foramen magnum derive from the posterolateral (or far-lateral) craniotomy originally described by Roberto Heros and Bernard George. This paper is a review of the surgical management of FMMs, with emphasis on the far-lateral approach and its variations. Clinical presentation, imaging findings, important neuroanatomical correlations, recurrence rates, and outcomes are discussed.

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Daniel R. Klinger, Bruno C. Flores, Jeremy J. Lewis and Samuel L. Barnett

Cavernous sinus meningiomas (CSMs) are challenging lesions for the skull base neurosurgeon to manage given their close association with cranial nerves II–VI and the internal carotid artery. In the 1980s and early 1990s, with advancements in microsurgical techniques, increasing knowledge of the relevant microsurgical neuroanatomy, and the advent of advanced skull base surgical approaches, the treatment of CSMs involved attempts at gross-total resection (GTR). Initial fervor for a surgical cure waned, however, as skull base neurosurgeons demonstrated the limits of complete resection in this region, the ongoing issue of potential tumor recurrences, and the unacceptably high cranial nerve and vascular morbidity associated with this strategy. The advent of radiosurgery and its documented success for tumor growth control and limited morbidity in cavernous lesions has helped to shift the treatment goals for CSMs from GTR to tumor control and symptom relief while minimizing treatment- and lesion-associated morbidity. The authors review the relevant microanatomy of the cavernous sinus with anatomical and radiographic correlates, as well as the various treatment options. A modernized, multimodality treatment algorithm to guide management of these lesions is proposed.

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Bruno C. Flores, Anthony R. Whittemore, Duke S. Samson and Samuel L. Barnett

OBJECT

Resection of brainstem cavernous malformations (BSCMs) may reduce the risk of stepwise neurological deterioration secondary to hemorrhage, but the morbidity of surgery remains high. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and diffusion tensor tractography (DTT) are neuroimaging techniques that may assist in the complex surgical planning necessary for these lesions. The authors evaluate the utility of preoperative DTI and DTT in the surgical management of BSCMs and their correlation with functional outcome.

METHODS

A retrospective review was conducted to identify patients who underwent resection of a BSCM between 2007 and 2012. All patients had preoperative DTI/DTT studies and a minimum of 6 months of clinical and radiographic follow-up. Five major fiber tracts were evaluated preoperatively using the DTI/DTT protocol: 1) corticospinal tract, 2) medial lemniscus and medial longitudinal fasciculus, 3) inferior cerebellar peduncle, 4) middle cerebellar peduncle, and 5) superior cerebellar peduncle. Scores were applied according to the degree of distortion seen, and the sum of scores was used for analysis. Functional outcomes were measured at hospital admission, discharge, and last clinic visit using modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores.

RESULTS

Eleven patients who underwent resection of a BSCM and preoperative DTI were identified. The mean age at presentation was 49 years, with a male-to-female ratio of 1.75:1. Cranial nerve deficit was the most common presenting symptom (81.8%), followed by cerebellar signs or gait/balance difficulties (54.5%) and hemibody anesthesia (27.2%). The majority of the lesions were located within the pons (54.5%). The mean diameter and estimated volume of lesions were 1.21 cm and 1.93 cm3, respectively. Using DTI and DTT, 9 patients (82%) were found to have involvement of 2 or more major fiber tracts; the corticospinal tract and medial lemniscus/medial longitudinal fasciculus were the most commonly affected. In 2 patients with BSCMs without pial presentation, DTI/DTT findings were important in the selection of the surgical approach. In 2 other patients, the results from preoperative DTI/DTT were important for selection of brainstem entry zones. All 11 patients underwent gross-total resection of their BSCMs. After a mean postoperative follow-up duration of 32.04 months, all 11 patients had excellent or good outcome (mRS Score 0–3) at the time of last outpatient clinic evaluation. DTI score did not correlate with long-term outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

Preoperative DTI and DTT should be considered in the resection of symptomatic BSCMs. These imaging studies may influence the selection of surgical approach or brainstem entry zones, especially in deep-seated lesions without pial or ependymal presentation. DTI/DTT findings may allow for more aggressive management of lesions previously considered surgically inaccessible. Preoperative DTI/DTT changes do not appear to correlate with functional postoperative outcome in long-term follow-up.

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Bruno C. Flores, Jonathan A. White, H. Hunt Batjer and Duke S. Samson

OBJECTIVE

Paraclinoid internal carotid artery (ICA) aneurysms frequently require temporary occlusion to facilitate safe clipping. Brisk retrograde flow through the ophthalmic artery and cavernous ICA branches make simple trapping inadequate to soften the aneurysm. The retrograde suction decompression (RSD), or Dallas RSD, technique was described in 1990 in an attempt to overcome some of those treatment limitations. A frequent criticism of the RSD technique is an allegedly high risk of cervical ICA dissection. An endovascular modification was introduced in 1991 (endovascular RSD) but no studies have compared the 2 RSD variations.

METHODS

The authors performed a systematic review of MEDLINE/PubMed and Web of Science and identified all studies from 1990–2016 in which either Dallas RSD or endovascular RSD was used for treatment of paraclinoid aneurysms. A pooled analysis of the data was completed to identify important demographic and treatment-specific variables. The primary outcome measure was defined as successful aneurysm obliteration. Secondary outcome variables were divided into overall and RSD-specific morbidity and mortality rates.

RESULTS

Twenty-six RSD studies met the inclusion criteria (525 patients, 78.9% female). The mean patient age was 53.5 years. Most aneurysms were unruptured (56.6%) and giant (49%). The most common presentations were subarachnoid hemorrhage (43.6%) and vision changes (25.3%). The aneurysm obliteration rate was 95%. The mean temporary occlusion time was 12.7 minutes. Transient or permanent morbidity was seen in 19.9% of the patients. The RSD-specific complication rate was low (1.3%). The overall mortality rate was 4.2%, with 2 deaths (0.4%) attributable to the RSD technique itself. Good or fair outcome were reported in 90.7% of the patients.

Aneurysm obliteration rates were similar in the 2 subgroups (Dallas RSD 94.3%, endovascular RSD 96.3%, p = 0.33). Despite a higher frequency of complex (giant or ruptured) aneurysms, Dallas RSD was associated with lower RSD-related morbidity (0.6% vs 2.9%, p = 0.03), compared with the endovascular RSD subgroup. There was a trend toward higher mortality in the endovascular RSD subgroup (6.4% vs 3.1%, p = 0.08). The proportion of patients with poor neurological outcome at last follow-up was significantly higher in the endovascular RSD group (15.4% vs 7.2%, p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

The treatment of paraclinoid ICA aneurysms using the RSD technique is associated with high aneurysm obliteration rates, good long-term neurological outcome, and low RSD-related morbidity and mortality. Review of the RSD literature showed no evidence of a higher complication rate associated with the Dallas technique compared with similar endovascular methods. On a subgroup analysis of Dallas RSD and endovascular RSD, both groups achieved similar obliteration rates, but a lower RSD-related morbidity was seen in the Dallas technique subgroup. Twenty-five years after its initial publication, RSD remains a useful neurosurgical technique for the management of large and giant paraclinoid aneurysms.

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Alfred P. See, Bruno C. Flores, Karam Moon, Andrew F. Ducruet, Robert F. Spetzler and Felipe C. Albuquerque

Supratentorial arteriovenous malformations in eloquent territories can be difficult to resect. This video presents the treatment of a patient with a symptomatic 3-cm arteriovenous malformation in the left motor strip. At the authors’ institution, per the surgeon’s discretion, preoperative angiography is performed to evaluate the need for preoperative embolization. Multimodality treatment reduced the microsurgical risk by allowing early occlusion of a draining vein, by decreasing overall intraoperative hemorrhage, and by allowing minimal pial dissection in the deep aspect of the arteriovenous malformation that abutted the corticospinal tract. The choice of embolysate was an additional nuance of the embolization.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/HWZ0RjgPEXg.

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Bruno C. Flores, Alfred P. See, Gregory M. Weiner, Brian T. Jankowitz, Andrew F. Ducruet and Felipe C. Albuquerque

OBJECTIVE

Liquid embolic agents have revolutionized endovascular management of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs). Nonetheless, since 2005, the US FDA has received more than 100 reports of microcatheter breakage or entrapment related to Onyx embolization, including 9 deaths. In 2014, the Apollo detachable-tip microcatheter became the first of its kind available in the US. Since then, few reports on its safety have been published.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of endovascular cases by searching the patient databases at 2 tertiary cerebrovascular centers (Barrow Neurological Institute and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center). Patients who underwent endovascular embolization of an AVM or AVF using the Apollo microcatheter were identified. Patient demographics and lesion characteristics were collected. The authors analyzed Apollo-specific endovascular variables, such as number of microcatheterizations, sessions, and pedicles embolized; microcatheter tip detachment status; obliteration rate; and endovascular- and microcatheter-related morbidity and mortality.

RESULTS

From July 2014 to October 2016, a total of 177 embolizations using the Apollo microcatheter were performed in 61 patients (mean age 40.3 years). The most frequent presentation was hemorrhage (22/61, 36.1%). Most lesions were AVMs (51/61, 83.6%; mean diameter 30.6 mm). The mean Spetzler-Martin grade was 2.4. Thirty-nine (76.5%) of 51 patients with AVMs underwent resection. Microcatheterization was successful in 172 pedicles. Most patients (50/61, 82%) underwent a single embolization session. The mean number of pedicles per session was 2.5 (range 1–7). Onyx-18 was used in 103 (59.9%), N-butyl cyanoacrylate (NBCA) in 44 (25.6%), and Onyx-34 in 25 (14.5%) of the 172 embolizations. In 45.9% (28/61) of the patients, lesion obliteration of 75% or greater was achieved. Tip detachment occurred in 19.2% (33/172) of microcatheters. Fifty-three (86.9%) of the 61 patients who underwent embolization with the Apollo microcatheter had good functional outcomes (modified Rankin Scale score 0–2). No unintended microcatheter fractures or related morbidity was observed. One patient died of intraprocedural complications unrelated to microcatheter selection. In the univariate analysis, microcatheter tip detachment (p = 0.12), single embolized pedicles (p = 0.12), and smaller AVM nidus diameter (p = 0.17) correlated positively with high obliteration rates (> 90%). In the multivariate analysis, microcatheter tip detachment was the only independent variable associated with high obliteration rates (OR 9.5; p = 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS

The use of the Apollo detachable-tip microcatheter for embolization of AVMs and AVFs is associated with high rates of successful catheterization and obliteration and low rates of morbidity and mortality. The microcatheter was retrieved in all cases, even after prolonged injections in distal branch pedicles, often with significant reflux. This study represents the largest case series on the application of the Apollo microcatheter for neurointerventional procedures.

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Bruno C. Flores, Daniel R. Klinger, Kim l. Rickert, Samuel l. Barnett, Babu G. Welch, Jonathan A. White, H. Hunt Batjer and Duke S. Samson

Intracranial or brain arteriovenous malformations (BAVMs) are some of the most interesting and challenging lesions treated by the cerebrovascular neurosurgeon. It is generally believed that the combination of BAVMs and intracranial aneurysms (IAs) is associated with higher hemorrhage rates at presentation and higher rehemorrhage rates and thus with a more aggressive course and natural history. There is wide variation in the literature on the prevalence of BAVM-associated aneurysms (range 2.7%–58%), with 10%–20% being most often cited in the largest case series. The risk of intracranial hemorrhage in patients with unruptured BAVMs and coexisting IAs has been reported to be 7% annually, compared with 2%–4% annually for those with BAVM alone. Several different classification systems have been applied in an attempt to better understand the natural history of this combination of lesions and implications for treatment. Independent of the classification used, it is clear that a few subtypes of aneurysms have a direct hemodynamic correlation with the BAVM itself. This is exemplified by the fact that the presence of a distal flow-related or an intranidal aneurysm appears to be associated with an increased hemorrhage risk, when compared with an aneurysm located on a vessel with no direct supply to the BAVM nidus. Debate still exists regarding the etiology of the association between those two vascular lesions, the subsequent implications for patients’ risk of hemorrhagic stroke, and finally the determination of which patients warrant treatment and when. The ultimate goals of the treatment of a BAVM associated with an IA are to prevent hemorrhage, avoid stepwise neurological deterioration, and eliminate the mortality risk associated with recurrent hemorrhagic events. The treatment is only justifiable if the risks associated with an intervention are lower than or equivalent to the long-term risks of disability or mortality caused by the lesion itself. When faced with this difficult decision, a few questions need to be answered by the treating neu-rosurgeon: What is the mode of presentation? What is the symptomatic lesion? Which one of the lesions bled? What is the relationship between the BAVM and IA? Is it possible to safely treat both BAVM and IA? The objective of this review is to discuss the demographics, natural history, classification, and strategies for management of BAVMs associated with IAs.