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Danilo Silva, Moshe Attia, and Theodore H. Schwartz

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Amin Kassam, Carl H. Snyderman, Arlan Mintz, Paul Gardner, and Ricardo L. Carrau

Object

Transsphenoidal approaches have been used for a century for the resection of pituitary and other sellar tumors. More recently, the standard endonasal approach has been expanded to provide access to other, parasellar lesions. With the addition of the endoscope, this expansion carries significant potential for the resection of skull base lesions.

Methods

The anatomical landmarks and surgical techniques used in expanded (extended) endoscopic approaches to the rostral, anterior skull base are reviewed and presented, accompanied by case illustrations of each segment (or module) of approach. The rostral half of the anterior skull base is divided into modules of approach: sellar/parasellar, transplanum/transtuberculum, and transcribriform. Case illustrations of successful resections of lesions with each module are presented and discussed.

Conclusions

Endoscopic, expanded endonasal approaches to rostral anterior skull base lesions are feasible and hold great potential for decreased morbidity. The effectiveness and appropriate use of these techniques must be evaluated by close examination of outcomes as case series expand.

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Pierre-Olivier Champagne, Georgios A. Zenonos, Eric W. Wang, Carl H. Snyderman, and Paul A. Gardner

OBJECTIVE

The endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) to the lower clivus and craniovertebral junction (CVJ) has been traditionally performed via resection of the nasopharyngeal soft tissues. Alternatively, an inferiorly based rhinopharyngeal (RP) flap (RPF) can be dissected to help reconstruct the postoperative defect and separate it from the oropharynx. To date, there is no evidence regarding the viability and potential clinical impact of the RPF. The aim of this study was to assess RPF viability and its impact on clinical outcome.

METHODS

A retrospective cohort of 60 patients who underwent EEA to the lower clivus and CVJ was studied. The RPF was used in 30 patients (RPF group), and the nasopharyngeal soft tissues were resected in 30 patients (control group).

RESULTS

Chordoma was the most common surgical indication in both groups (47% in the RPF group vs 63% in the control group, p = 0.313), followed by odontoid pannus (20% in the RPF group vs 10%, p = 0.313). The two groups did not significantly differ in terms of extent of tumor (p = 0.271), intraoperative CSF leak (p = 0.438), and skull base reconstruction techniques other than the RPF (nasoseptal flap, p = 0.301; fascia lata, p = 0.791; inlay graft, p = 0.793; and prophylactic lumbar drain, p = 0.781). Postoperative soft-tissue enhancement covering the lower clivus and CVJ observed on MRI was significantly higher in the RPF group (100% vs 26%, p < 0.001). The RPF group had a significantly lower rate of nasoseptal flap necrosis (3% vs 20%, p = 0.044) and surgical site infection (3% vs 27%, p = 0.026) while having similar rates of postoperative CSF leakage (17% in the RPF group vs 20%, p = 0.739) and meningitis (7% in the RPF group vs 17%, p = 0.424). Oropharyngeal bacterial flora dominated the infections in the control group but not those in the RPF group, suggesting that the RPF acted as a barrier between the nasopharynx and oropharynx.

CONCLUSIONS

The RPF provides viable vascularized tissue coverage to the lower clivus and CVJ. Its use was associated with decreased rates of nasoseptal flap necrosis and local infection, likely due to separation from the oropharynx.

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Amin Kassam, Carl H. Snyderman, Ricardo L. Carrau, Paul Gardner, and Arlan Mintz

The increasing popularity of minimally invasive neurosurgery has led to the development of transnasal expanded approaches for the treatment of skull base lesions. One of the greatest challenges in safely accomplishing resection of tumors, particularly intradural lesions, is effective hemostasis. Over the past 7 years the authors have progressively developed an organized approach to address this challenge. This has required the development of new instrumentation as well as variations on standard techniques. In this report they present the technique that has evolved at their institution for endoneurosurgical hemostasis.

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Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Carlos D. Pinheiro-Neto, Paul A. Gardner, and Carl H. Snyderman

The authors present the technical and anatomical nuances needed to perform an endoscopic endonasal removal of a tuberculum sellae meningioma. The patient is a 47-year-old female with headaches and an incidental finding of a small tuberculum sellae meningioma with no vascular encasement, no optic canal invasion, but mild inferior to superior compression of the cisternal segment of the left optic nerve. Neuroophthalmology assessment revealed no visual defects. Treatment options included clinical observation with imaging follow-up studies, radiosurgery, and resection. The patient elected to undergo surgical removal and an endonasal endoscopic approach was the preferred surgical option.

Preoperative radiological studies showed the presence of an osseous ring between the left middle and anterior clinoids, the so-called carotico-clinoidal ring. The surgical implications of this finding and its management are illustrated. The surgical anatomy of the suprasellar region is reviewed, including concepts such as the chiasmatic sulcus and limbus sphenoidale, medial and lateral optico-carotid recesses, and the paraclinoidal and supraclinoidal segments of the internal carotid artery. Emphasis is made in the importance of exposing the distal dural ring of the internal carotid artery and the precanalicular segment of the optic nerve for adequate intradural dissection. The endonasal route allows for early coagulation of the tumor meningeal supply and extensive resection of dural attachments, and importantly, provides an inferior to superior access to the infrachiasmatic region that facilitates complete tumor removal without any manipulation of the optic nerve. The lateral limit of dural removal is formed by the distal dural ring, which is gently coagulated after the tumor is resected. A 45° scope is used to inspect for any residual tumor, in particular at the entrance of the optic nerve into the optic canal and at the most anterior margin of the exposure (limbus sphenoidale). The steps for reconstruction are detailed and include intradural placement of dural substitute and extradural placement of the nasoseptal flap. The nuances for proper harvesting, positioning, and reinforcement of the flap are described. No lumbar drain was used.

The patient had an uneventful recovery with no CSF leak or any other complications. Imaging follow-up at 6 months showed complete removal of the tumor. The patient had no sinonasal or neurological symptoms, and olfaction was fully preserved.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/kkuV-yyEHMg.

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Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, James J. Evans, Paul A. Gardner, Carl H. Snyderman, and Pablo F. Recinos

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Amin Kassam, Ricardo L. Carrau, Carl H. Snyderman, Paul Gardner, and Arlan Mintz

Harvey Cushing first popularized the transsphenoidal route to the sella turcica, and Jules Hardy subsequently refined it by adding the operating microscope. Over the ensuing decades, attempts at extending the application of this approach have been advanced by Edward Laws and others. With the evolution of endoscopic approaches, the natural expansion of their use to intradural lesions followed. For the expanded endonasal approach to become a viable option, the paramount concerns surrounding consistent reconstruction of the dura mater must be overcome. In this review the authors chronicle the evolution of the reconstruction technique they currently use after performing expanded endonasal approaches. They also report the use of a balloon stent to buttress the reconstruction and counter the effects of graft migration and cerebrospinal fluid fistula formation. The technique described in this report represents an important step forward in the reconstruction of defects resulting from expanded endonasal approaches.

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Amin Kassam, Carl H. Snyderman, Arlan Mintz, Paul Gardner, and Ricardo L. Carrau

Object

Transsphenoidal approaches have been used for a century for the resection of pituitary and other sellar tumors. Recently, however, the standard endonasal approach has been expanded to provide access to other parasellar lesions. With the addition of the endoscope, this expansion has significant potential for the resection of skull base lesions.

Methods

The anatomical landmarks and surgical techniques used in expanded (extended) endoscopic approaches to the clivus and cervicomedullary junction are reviewed and presented, accompanied by case illustrations of each segment (or module) of approach.

The caudal portion of the midline anterior skull base and the cervicomedullary junction is divided into modules of approach: the middle third of the clivus, its lower third, and the cervicomedullary junction. Case illustrations of successful resections of lesions via each module of the approach are presented and discussed.

Conclusions

Endoscopic expanded endonasal approaches to caudally located midline anterior skull base and cervicomedullary lesions are feasible and hold great potential for decreased morbidity. The effectiveness and appropriate use of these techniques must be evaluated by close examination of outcomes as case series expand.

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Michael M. McDowell, Georgios Zenonos, Eric Wang, Carl H. Snyderman, and Paul A. Gardner

This is the case of a 76-year-old woman presenting with progressive right vision loss consisting of a right eye temporal field cut and severe visual acuity loss. An MRI was performed showing a suprasellar mass for which she had been referred to our center for an endoscopic endonasal approach. The tumor was found to be densely adherent to adjacent structures, and an ophthalmic artery and A1–A2 junction injury were sustained during resection. The management of intraoperative vascular injuries is described.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/JJY6nYKTCSg.

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Paul A. Gardner, Daniel M. Prevedello, Amin B. Kassam, Carl H. Snyderman, Ricardo L. Carrau, and Arlan H. Mintz

✓Craniopharyngiomas have always been an extremely challenging type of tumor to treat. The transsphenoidal route has been used for resection of these lesions since its introduction. The authors present a historical review of the literature from the introduction of the endonasal route for resection of craniopharyngiomas until the present. Abandoned early due to technological limitations, this approach has been expanded both in its application and in its anatomical boundaries with subsequent progressive improvements in outcomes. This expansion has coincided with advances in visualization devices, imaging guidance techniques, and anatomical understanding. The progression from the use of headlights, to microscopy, to endoscopy and fluoroscopy, and finally to modern intraoperative magnetic resonance–guided techniques, combined with collaboration between otolaryngologists and neurosurgeons, has provided the framework for the development of current techniques for the resection of sellar and suprasellar craniopharyngiomas.