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Griffith Rutherford Harsh IV, Michael S. B. Edwards, and Charles B. Wilson

✓ The clinical and radiographic findings, surgical treatment, and outcome in 16 pediatric patients with intracranial arachnoid cysts are reviewed. The clinical presentation reflected the anatomical location of the lesions. Computerized tomography or magnetic resonance imaging scans were diagnostic in all cases. Of the nine cysts treated primarily or secondarily by craniotomy for fenestration and drainage into the basilar cisterns, five recurred. Cyst-peritoneal shunting led to diminished cyst size and clinical improvement in all seven cases in which it was used as the initial treatment and in all four cases in which fenestration had been unsuccessful. The results in this series show that cyst-peritoneal shunting is the treatment of choice for most intracranial arachnoid cysts in children.

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David C. Crafts, Victor A. Levin, Michael S. Edwards, Tana L. Pischer, and Charles B. Wilson

✓ Seventeen patients with recurrent medulloblastoma were treated with a combination of three drugs: procarbazine, CCNU, and vincristine (PCV). Tumor recurrence was documented at varying periods following surgery and radiotherapy. Among 16 evaluable patients, ten showed a response to PCV on the basis of subjective neurological improvement and a decrease in tumor size by radiological criteria. Five patients were designated as having stable disease on the basis of no change in neurological status and tumor size. One patient showed uninterrupted progression of disease. The median time to progression for all patients was 45 weeks.

Significant myelotoxicity, exacerbated by prior spinal irradiation, compromised therapy. After an initial response, it was often necessary to reduce the higher doses of CCNU and procarbazine that caused concomitant bone-marrow toxicity; as a consequence of the lowered doses, tumor progression was then frequently observed. The authors conclude that PCV is an effective form of palliative therapy for recurrent medulloblastoma.

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Primary cerebral neuroblastoma

Long-term follow-up review and therapeutic guidelines

Mitchel S. Berger, Michael S. B. Edwards, William M. Wara, Victor A. Levin, and Charles B. Wilson

✓ Primary cerebral neuroblastoma is a distinct pathological and clinical entity that differs from other primitive neuroectodermal tumors. To characterize the clinical course of this lesion, the authors performed a retrospective analysis in 11 patients who ranged in age from 17 months to 26 years. The tumor had no predilection for either sex. Signs and symptoms were mostly those associated with increased intracranial pressure. The lesions commonly involved the parietal and occipital lobes. Computerized tomography scans of nine patients showed five solid and four cystic lesions; calcifications were found more commonly in the solid lesions. Contrast enhancement was seen in all tumors, yet angiograms typically showed an avascular mass. Total removal of tumor was possible in only two patients, both with cystic tumors. The remaining nine underwent subtotal resection of a solid lesion (in five) or a cystic lesion (in four). All 11 patients underwent postoperative irradiation that included the spinal axis in two cases; only one received adjuvant chemotherapy (solid tumor). Four patients, all with solid tumors that initially were subtotally resected, had evidence of tumor recurrence. The only patient with a subtotally resected solid lesion who did not have recurrence received adjuvant chemotherapy. The six patients who had cystic lesions are free of recurrent tumor at 26 to 109 months after surgery. Based on follow-up analysis of the 11 patients, recommendations are proposed for the treatment of primary cerebral neuroblastomas.

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Surgical treatment of syringomyelia

Favorable results with syringoperitoneal shunting

Nicholas M. Barbaro, Charles B. Wilson, Philip H. Gutin, and Michael S. B. Edwards

✓ The authors reviewed the clinical findings, radiological evaluation, and operative therapy of 39 patients with syringomyelia. Syringoperitoneal (SP) shunting was used in 15 patients and other procedures were used in 24 patients. Follow-up periods ranged from 1½ to 12 years. During the period of this study, metrizamide myelography in conjunction with early and delayed computerized tomography scanning replaced all other diagnostic procedures in patients with syringomyelia. Preoperative accuracy for the two procedures was 87%.

The most common symptoms were weakness (79%), sensory loss (67%), pain (38%), and leg stiffness (28%). Surgery was most effective in stabilizing or alleviating pain (100%), sensory loss (81%), and weakness (74%); spasticity, headache, and bowel or bladder dysfunction were less likely to be reversed. Approximately 80% of patients with idiopathic and posttraumatic syringomyelia and 70% of those with arachnoiditis improved or stabilized. Better results were obtained in patients with less severe neurological deficits, suggesting the need for early operative intervention. A higher percentage of patients had neurological improvement with SP shunting than with any other procedure, especially when SP shunting was the first operation performed. Patients treated with SP shunts also had the highest complication rate, most often shunt malfunction. These results indicate that SP shunting is effective in reversing or arresting neurological deterioration in patients with syringomyelia.

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Michael S. B. Edwards, Roger J. Hudgins, Charles B. Wilson, Victor A. Levin, and William M. Wara

✓ The authors believe that the preferred treatment for pineal region tumors in children requires definitive surgery with a histological diagnosis and that a conservative approach consisting of shunting and radiation therapy no longer seems to be appropriate. The results are reported of a retrospective review of the presentation, treatment, and outcome of 36 children under the age of 18 years treated between 1974 and 1986. Eleven children had germinomas (two-cell type), seven had astrocytomas, and the remaining 18 had 15 histologically different tumor types. Surgery was performed on 30 patients; there were no deaths, but a 10% rate of persistent morbidity was found. The median follow-up period was 4 years. Nine (82%) of 11 patients with germinomas are alive without evidence of recurrence; one child died from recurrent tumor in the pineal region and another is presently being treated for recurrent tumor of the spinal cord. Six (86%) of the seven patients with astrocytoma are well after biopsy and radiation therapy. Of the remaining 18 children, five (28%) died from tumor progression.

The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tumor markers α-fetoprotein and β-human chorionic gonadotropin were helpful in determining the presence of malignant germ-cell tumors, particularly those with a poor prognosis. Magnetic resonance imaging was useful for diagnosis and for planning the operative approach. Magnetic resonance images showed the presence of pineal region tumors in four children with hydrocephalus who had no evidence of tumor on computerized tomography scans.

Because the great variety of tumor types found in the pineal region must be treated in different ways and because improved microsurgical and stereotaxic surgical techniques have made mortality and morbidity rates acceptably low, a biopsy diagnosis should be obtained in all patients. Preoperative assessment of CSF tumor markers and cytology is useful for the identification of patients who have a poor prognosis.

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Dorcas S. Fulton, Victor A. Levin, William M. Wara, Michael S. Edwards, and Charles B. Wilson

✓ Forty-five children harboring brain-stem tumors were treated at the University of California, San Francisco, between 1969 and 1979. Pathological diagnoses were made in 19 patients. All patients received radiation therapy (RT). Thirteen patients received chemotherapy before, during, or immediately after RT. Twenty-four patients were treated with chemotherapy at the time of tumor progression, after initial treatment with RT alone. No statistically significant difference in time to tumor progression or survival was found for treatment with chemotherapy as an adjuvant to RT compared to treatment with RT alone followed by chemotherapy administered at the time of tumor progression. There were, however, more long-term survivors in the group that was first treated with chemotherapy at the time of tumor progression. There was no statistically significant correlation between survival and tumor pathology or location, although there were more long-term survivors among patients harboring low-grade gliomas and among patients with tumors confined to the midbrain. The authors documented the response of some brain-stem tumors to chemotherapy; however, cooperative controlled studies will be required to determine the optimum treatment for this disease.

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Ali K. Choucair, Victor A. Levin, Philip H. Gutin, Richard L. Davis, Pamela Silver, Michael S. B. Edwards, and Charles B. Wilson

✓ To determine the percentage of patients who developed multiple central nervous system (CNS) gliomas during postoperative radiation therapy and chemotherapy, the authors reviewed the records of 1047 patients treated between December 2, 1976, and August 16, 1985, who had an original diagnosis of supratentorial glioblastoma multiforme or other anaplastic glioma. The occurrence of multiple lesions was verified by neurodiagnostic studies (computerized tomography or myelography) or by findings at operation or autopsy. Twelve patients (1.1%) who presented with multiple lesions were excluded from this analysis. There were 405 patients with glioblastoma multiforme; their median age was 46.5 years (range 22 to 70 years). Eighteen (5%) of these patients had multiple CNS lesions, five of which were in the spinal cord. The median time from diagnosis to detection of the second lesion in this group was 59.5 weeks (range 10 to 182 weeks). There were 630 patients with anaplastic glioma (which included mixed malignant glioma and highly anaplastic, gemistocytic, moderately anaplastic, and anaplastic astrocytomas); their median age was 30 years (range 2 to 62 years). Fifty-four (8.6%) of these patients had multiple lesions, 10 of which were in the spinal cord; only one case of extraneural metastasis was found. The median time from diagnosis to detection of the second lesion in this group was 101 weeks (range 14 to 459 weeks). These results show that more than 90% of CNS gliomas recur at the site of the original tumor. Considering the high frequency of intellectual dysfunction after whole-brain radiation therapy, the use of focal radiation fields appears to be the most judicious approach to the treatment of patients with gliomas.

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Computerized tomography of cranial sutures

Part 1: Comparison of suture anatomy in children and adults

Yoshimi Furuya, Michael S. B. Edwards, Charles E. Alpers, Brian M. Tress, Douglas K. Ousterhout, and David Norman

✓ Knowledge of normal suture anatomy and development is vital in order to understand abnormal suture development and to be able to distinguish sutures radiographically from normal anatomical structures and possible skull fractures. The anatomy of the sutures and synchrondroses of 150 normal pediatric and adult patients was studied using high-resolution computerized tomography scanning. Sutures of both the calvaria and skull base were most accurately identified in axial and coronal high-resolution thin-section scans when bone window algorithms were used. Developmental changes of the sutures and synchodroses, the inner and outer tables, and the diploic space were all well delineated. Vault sutures could be identified routinely in children, but their presence in adults varied considerably. With increasing age, parasutural sclerosis developed and sutures were more closely apposed.

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Stephen K. Powers, Michael S. B. Edwards, James E. Boggan, Lawrence H. Pitts, Philip H. Gutin, Yoshio Hosobuchi, John E. Adams, and Charles B. Wilson

✓ The argon surgical laser has been used in 68 neurosurgical procedures that included the removal of intracranial and intraspinal tumors, spinal cord fenestration for syringomyelia, and the production of dorsal root entry zone lesions. Characteristics that make the argon surgical laser a useful microneurosurgical instrument include the availability of a fiberoptic delivery system, a laser spot size that can be varied continuously between 0.15 and 1.5 mm, a single laser-aiming and treatment beam, the transmission of argon laser light through aqueous media such as irrigating or cerebrospinal fluids, and improved hemostasis compared to conventional techniques. The argon laser is limited primarily by its relatively low power output (less than 16 W), which makes the excision of large tumors difficult. However, even with these limitations, which can be used to advantage in the proper setting, the authors' laboratory and clinical experience suggests that the argon surgical laser may be useful in certain microneurosurgical operations.

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Computerized tomography of cranial sutures

Part 2: Abnormalities of sutures and skull deformity in craniosynostosis

Yoshimi Furuya, Michael S. B. Edwards, Charles E. Alpers, Brian M. Tress, David Norman, and Douglas K. Ousterhout

✓ Preoperative computerized tomographic (CT) scans of 24 children who had surgery for either single or multiple craniosynostoses were compared with skull radiographs and operative and pathological findings. In addition to providing accurate imaging of calvarial and skull base deformities secondary to premature suture closure, high-resolution CT with bone definition algorithms supplied valuable detail of anatomical changes at the abnormally developed suture. The CT findings varied with the location of the suture. Thickened bony ridges predominated at the sagittal suture, focal bone thickening and erosions were more likely to be found at the metopic suture, and parasutural sclerosis was the prevalent finding on one side of the lambdoid suture. No evidence of the suture could be detected in the majority of patients with complete coronal craniosynostosis. Radiographs of the skull were shown to be a relatively insensitive means of imaging the zone of limited fusion, especially the lambdoid suture. An excellent correlation was found between the CT scan and the operative and pathological findings. There was histological evidence of progressive suture fusion in virtually all patients. An asymmetrically narrowed lucent zone with parasutural sclerosis or bony ridges seen on CT scans correlated well with fibrous union of the suture found on histological examination. The authors conclude that high-definition CT used in conjunction with bone windows and thin and coronal slices for the evaluation of sagittal sutures is a useful imaging method for the evaluation of craniosynostosis.