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Paolo Ferroli, Marco Schiariti, Roberto Cordella, Carlo Boffano, Simone Nava, Emanuele La Corte, Claudio Cavallo, Dario Bauer, Melina Castiglione, Morgan Broggi, Francesco Acerbi and Giovanni Broggi

OBJECT

Surgery of brainstem lesions is increasingly performed despite the fact that surgical indications and techniques continue to be debated. The deep pons, in particular, continues to be a critical area in which the specific risks related to different surgical strategies continue to be examined. With the intention of bringing new knowledge into this important arena, the authors systematically examined the results of brainstem surgeries that have been performed through the lateral infratrigeminal transpontine window.

METHODS

Between 1990 and 2013, 29 consecutive patients underwent surgery through this window for either biopsy sampling or for removal of a deep pontine lesion. All of this work was performed at the Department of Neurosurgery of the Istituto Nazionale Neurologico "Carlo Besta", in Milan, Italy. A retrospective analysis of the findings was conducted with the intention of bringing further clarity to this important surgical strategy.

RESULTS

The lateral infratrigeminal transpontine window was exposed through 4 different approaches: 1) classic retrosigmoid (15 cases), 2) minimally invasive keyhole retrosigmoid (10 cases), 3) translabyrinthine (1 case), and 4) combined petrosal (3 cases). No deaths occurred during the entire clinical study. The surgical complications that were observed included hydrocephalus (2 cases) and CSF leakage (1 case). In 6 (20.7%) of 29 patients the authors encountered new neurological deficits during the immediate postoperative period. All 6 of these patients had undergone lesion removal. In only 2 of these 6 patients were permanent sequelae observed at 3 months follow-up. These findings show that 93% of the patients studied did not report any permanent worsening of their neurological condition after this surgical intervention.

CONCLUSIONS

This retrospective study supports the idea that the lateral infratrigeminal transpontine window is both a low-risk and safe corridor for either biopsy sampling or for removal of deep pontine lesions.

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Francesco Acerbi, Morgan Broggi, Marica Eoli, Elena Anghileri, Claudio Cavallo, Carlo Boffano, Roberto Cordella, Lucia Cuppini, Bianca Pollo, Marco Schiariti, Sergio Visintini, Chiara Orsi, Emanuele La Corte, Giovanni Broggi and Paolo Ferroli

Object

Fluorescein, a dye that is widely used as a fluorescent tracer, accumulates in cerebral areas where the blood-brain barrier is damaged. This quality makes it an ideal dye for the intraoperative visualization of high-grade gliomas (HGGs). The authors report their experience with a new fluorescein-guided technique for the resection of HGGs using a dedicated filter on the surgical microscope.

Methods

The authors initiated a prospective Phase II trial (FLUOGLIO) in September 2011 with the objective of evaluating the safety of fluorescein-guided surgery for HGGs and obtaining preliminary evidence regarding its efficacy for this purpose. To be eligible for participation in the study, a patient had to have suspected HGG amenable to complete resection of the contrast-enhancing area. The present report is based on the analysis of the short- and long-term results in 20 consecutive patients with HGGs (age range 45–74 years), enrolled in the study since September 2011.

In all cases fluorescein (5–10 mg/kg) was injected intravenously after intubation. Tumor resection was performed with microsurgical technique and fluorescence visualization by means of BLUE 400 or YELLOW 560 filters on a Pentero microscope.

Results

The median preoperative tumor volume was 30.3 cm3 (range 2.4–87.8 cm3). There were no adverse reactions related to fluorescein administration. Complete removal of contrast-enhanced tumor was achieved in 80% of the patients. The median duration of follow-up was 10 months. The 6-months progression-free survival rate was 71.4% and the median survival was 11 months.

Conclusions

Analysis of these 20 cases suggested that fluorescein-guided technique with a dedicated filter on the surgical microscope is safe and allows a high rate of complete resection of contrast-enhanced tumor as determined on early postoperative MRI. Clinical trial registration no.: 2011-002527-18 (EudraCT).