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John Y. K. Lee, John T. Pierce, Sukhmeet K. Sandhu, Dmitriy Petrov and Andrew I. Yang

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic surgery has revolutionized surgery of the ventral skull base but has not yet been widely adopted for use in the cerebellopontine angle. Given the relatively normal anatomy of the cerebellopontine angle in patients with trigeminal neuralgia (TN), the authors hypothesized that a fully endoscopic microvascular decompression (E-MVD) might provide pain outcomes equivalent to those of microscopic MVD (M-MVD) but with fewer complications.

METHODS

The authors conducted a single-institution, single-surgeon retrospective study with patients treated in the period of 2006–2013. Before surgery, all patients completed a questionnaire that included a validated multidimensional pain-outcome tool, the Penn Facial Pain Scale (PFPS, formerly known as Brief Pain Inventory–Facial), an 11-point scale that measures pain intensity, interference with general activities of daily living (ADLs), and facial-specific ADLs. Using a standardized script, independent research assistants conducted follow-up telephone interviews.

RESULTS

In total, 167 patients were available for follow-ups (66.5% female; 93 patients underwent M-MVD and 74 underwent E-MVD). Preoperative characteristics (i.e., TN classification, PFPS components, and medication use) were similar for the 2 surgical groups except for 2 variables. Patients in the M-MVD group had slightly higher incidence of V3 pain, and the 2 groups differed in the date of surgery and hence in the length of follow-up (2.4 years for the M-MVD group and 1.3 years for the E-MVD group, p < 0.05). There was a trend toward not finding neurovascular conflict at the time of surgery more frequently in the M-MVD than in the E-MVD group (11% vs 7%, p = 0.052). Internal neurolysis was more often performed in the E-MVD group (26% vs 7%, p = 0.001). The 2 groups did not significantly differ in the length of the MVD procedure (approximately 2 hours). Self-reported headaches at 1 month postoperatively were present in 21% of the patients in the M-MVD group versus 7% in the E-MVD group (p = 0.01). Pain outcomes at the most recent followup were equivalent, with patients reporting a 5- to 6-point (70%–80%) improvement in pain intensity, a 5-point (85%) improvement in pain interference with ADLs, and a 6-point (85%) improvement in interference with facial-specific ADLs. Actuarial freedom from pain recurrence was equivalent in the 2 groups, with 80% pain control at 3 years.

CONCLUSIONS

Both the fully endoscopic MVD and the conventional M-MVD appear to provide patients with equivalent pain outcomes. Complication rates were also similar between the groups, with the exception of the rate of headaches, which was significantly lower in the E-MVD group 1 month postoperatively.

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Dmitriy Petrov, Michael Spadola, Connor Berger, Gregory Glauser, Ahmad F. Mahmoud, Bert O’Malley and Neil R. Malhotra

Chordomas are rare, locally aggressive neoplasms that develop from remnants of the notochord. The typical approach to chordomas of the clivus and axial cervical spine often limits successful en bloc resection. In this case report, authors describe the first-documented transoral approach using both transoral robotic surgery (TORS) for exposure and the Sonopet bone scalpel under navigational guidance to achieve en bloc resection of a cervical chordoma. This 27-year-old man had no significant past medical history (Charlson Comorbidity Index 0). During a trauma workup following a motor vehicle collision, a CT of the patient’s cervical spine demonstrated an incidental 2.2-cm lesion situated along the posterior aspect of the C2 vertebral body. Postoperative imaging showed successful en bloc resection with adequate placement of hardware, and the pathology report demonstrated negative resection margins. The patient tolerated the procedure well, and because of the successful en bloc resection, radiation has been deferred. At 7 months postoperatively, the patient returned to work in New York City. Contrasted MRI at 15 months postoperatively showed the patient to be disease free. This approach offers a promising way forward in the treatment of these complex tumors.

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Tracy M. Flanders, Rachel Blue, Sanford Roberts, Brendan J. McShane, Bryan Wilent, Vijay Tambi, Dmitriy Petrov and John Y. K. Lee

OBJECTIVE

Hemifacial spasm (HFS) is characterized by involuntary tonic and/or clonic contractions of facial nerve muscles. Fully endoscopic microvascular decompression (E-MVD) for HFS has not been widely adopted. This paper aims to illustrate the safety and efficacy of the fully endoscopic technique for HFS treatment.

METHODS

The authors conducted a single-center retrospective study of 27 patients (28 separate E-MVD cases; 1 patient had bilateral E-MVD) diagnosed with HFS who underwent fully E-MVD from January 2013 to October 2016. Intraoperative brainstem auditory evoked potentials and lateral spread resolution were reviewed. Outcome was based on the clinical status of the patient at the last contact point with the senior author. Complications were categorized as facial weakness, hearing loss, ataxia, dysphagia, or any adverse event able to be attributed to the surgical procedure.

RESULTS

HFS was relieved either completely or partially in the majority of cases (24 of 28, 85.7%). Of the 28 separate procedures, 17 (60.7%) resulted in complete resolution of symptoms, 4 (14.3%) resulted in near-complete resolution, 2 (7.1%) resulted in 50% reduction of symptoms, 1 (3.6%) resulted in minimal reduction, and 4 (14.3%) resulted in no relief. Of the 27 patients, 26 (96%) had no permanent postoperative complications. In multivariate logistic regression, the best predictor of greater than 50% resolution of spasm was resolution of intraoperative lateral spread response.

CONCLUSIONS

A fully E-MVD for HFS provides a safe and comprehensive view of the neurovascular conflict. Exclusive use of the endoscope in MVD is both safe and feasible in the treatment of HFS. Attention to lateral spread response monitoring remains an integral part of comprehensive neurosurgical management.