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Paolo Cappabianca, Luigi Maria Cavallo, Domenico Solari, and Felice Esposito

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Francesco Briganti, Giuseppe Leone, Luigi Cirillo, Oreste de Divitiis, Domenico Solari, and Paolo Cappabianca

OBJECTIVE

Flow diversion has emerged as a viable treatment option for selected intracranial aneurysms and recently has been gaining traction. The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of flow-diverter devices (FDDs) over a long-term follow-up period.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed all cerebral aneurysm cases that had been admitted to the Division of Neurosurgery of the Università degli Studi di Napoli between November 2008 and November 2015 and treated with an FDD. The records of 60 patients (48 females and 12 males) harboring 69 cerebral aneurysms were analyzed. The study end points were angiographic evidence of complete aneurysm occlusion, recanalization rate, occlusion of the parent artery, and clinical and radiological evidence of brain ischemia. The occlusion rate was evaluated according to the O’Kelly-Marotta (OKM) Scale for flow diversion, based on the degree of filling (A, total filling; B, subtotal filling; C, entry remnant; D, no filling). Postprocedural, midterm, and long-term results were strictly analyzed.

RESULTS

Complete occlusion (OKM D) was achieved in 63 (91%) of 69 aneurysms, partial occlusion (OKM C) in 4 (6%), occlusion of the parent artery in 2 (3%). Intraprocedural technical complications occurred in 3 patients (5%). Postprocedural complications occurred in 6 patients (10%), without neurological deficits. At the 12-month follow-up, 3 patients (5%) experienced asymptomatic cerebral infarction. No further complications were observed at later follow-up evaluations (> 24 months). There were no reports of any delayed aneurysm rupture, subarachnoid or intraparenchymal hemorrhage, ischemic complications, or procedure- or device-related deaths.

CONCLUSIONS

Endovascular treatment with an FDD is a safe treatment for unruptured cerebral aneurysms, resulting in a high rate of occlusion. In the present study, the authors observed effective and stable aneurysm occlusion, even at the long-term follow-up. Data in this study also suggest that ischemic complications can occur at a later stage, particularly at 12–18 months. On the other hand, no other ischemic or hemorrhagic complications occurred beyond 24 months.

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Jacek Kunicki

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Luigi Maria Cavallo, Diego Mazzatenta, Elena d’Avella, Domenico Catapano, Marco Maria Fontanella, Davide Locatelli, Davide Luglietto, Davide Milani, Domenico Solari, Marco Vindigni, Francesco Zenga, Gianluigi Zona, and Paolo Cappabianca

OBJECTIVE

In the last 2 decades, the endoscopic endonasal approach in the treatment of clival chordomas has evolved to be a viable strategy to achieve maximal safe resection of this tumor. Here, the authors present a multicentric national study, intending to analyze the evolution of this approach over a 20-year time frame and its contribution in the treatment of clival chordomas.

METHODS

Clival chordoma cases surgically treated between 1999 and 2018 at 10 Italian neurosurgical departments were included in this retrospective study. Clinical, radiological, and surgical findings, adjuvant therapy, and outcomes were evaluated and compared according to classification in the treatment eras from 1999 to 2008 and from 2009 to 2018.

RESULTS

One hundred eighty-two surgical procedures were reviewed, with an increase in case load since 2009. The endoscopic endonasal transclival approach (EETA) was performed in 151 of 182 cases (83.0%) and other approaches were performed in 31 cases (17%). There was an increment in the use of EETA, neuronavigation, and Doppler ultrasound after 2008. The overall postoperative complication rate was 14.3% (26 of 182 cases) consisting of 9 CSF leaks (4.9%), 7 intracranial hemorrhages (3.8%), 5 cases of meningitis (2.7%), and 5 cerebral ischemic injuries (2.7%). Gross-total resection (GTR) was achieved in 93 of 182 cases (51.1%). Extent of resection (EOR) improved in the second era of the study. Signs and/or symptoms at presentation worsened in 27 cases (14.8%), and the Katz Index worsened in 10 cases (5.5%). Previous treatment, dural involvement, EETA, and intraoperative Doppler ultrasound correlated with GTR. Patients received adjuvant proton beam radiation in 115 of 182 cases (63.2%), which was administered more in the latter era. Five-year progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were 62.3% and 73.5%, respectively. GTR, EETA, proton beam therapy, and the chondroid subtype correlated with a better survival rate. The mean follow-up was 62 months.

CONCLUSIONS

Through multicentric data collection, this study encompasses the largest series in the literature of clival chordomas surgically treated through an EETA. An increase in the use of this approach was found among Italian neurosurgical departments together with an improved extent of resection over time. The satisfactory rate of GTR was marked by low surgical morbidity and the preservation of patient quality of life. Surgical outcome was reinforced, in terms of PFS and OS, by the use of proton beam therapy, which was increasingly performed along the period of study.

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Alberto Di Somma, Norberto Andaluz, Luigi Maria Cavallo, Matteo de Notaris, Iacopo Dallan, Domenico Solari, Lee A. Zimmer, Jeffrey T. Keller, Mario Zuccarello, Alberto Prats-Galino, and Paolo Cappabianca

OBJECTIVE

Recent studies have proposed the superior eyelid endoscopic transorbital approach as a new minimally invasive route to access orbital lesions, mostly in otolaryngology and maxillofacial surgeries. The authors undertook this anatomical study in order to contribute a neurosurgical perspective, exploring the anterior and middle cranial fossa areas through this purely endoscopic transorbital trajectory.

METHODS

Anatomical dissections were performed in 10 human cadaveric heads (20 sides) using 0° and 30° endoscopes. A step-by-step description of the superior eyelid transorbital endoscopic route and surgically oriented classification are provided.

RESULTS

The authors’ cadaveric prosection of this approach defined 3 modular routes that could be combined. Two corridors using bone removal lateral to the superior and inferior orbital fissures exposed the middle and anterior cranial fossa (lateral orbital corridors to the anterior and middle cranial base) to unveil the temporal pole region, lateral wall of the cavernous sinus, middle cranial fossa floor, and frontobasal area (i.e., orbital and recti gyri of the frontal lobe). Combined, these 2 corridors exposed the lateral aspect of the lesser sphenoid wing with the Sylvian region (combined lateral orbital corridor to the anterior and middle cranial fossa, with lesser sphenoid wing removal). The medial corridor, with extension of bone removal medially to the superior and inferior orbital fissure, afforded exposure of the opticocarotid area (medial orbital corridor to the opticocarotid area).

CONCLUSIONS

Along with its minimally invasive nature, the superior eyelid transorbital approach allows good visualization and manipulation of anatomical structures mainly located in the anterior and middle cranial fossae (i.e., lateral to the superior and inferior orbital fissures). The visualization and management of the opticocarotid region medial to the superior orbital fissure are more complex. Further studies are needed to prove clinical applications of this relatively novel surgical pathway.

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Luigi Maria Cavallo, Giorgio Frank, Paolo Cappabianca, Domenico Solari, Diego Mazzatenta, Alessandro Villa, Matteo Zoli, Alfonso Iodice D'Enza, Felice Esposito, and Ernesto Pasquini

Object

Despite their benign histological appearance, craniopharyngiomas can be considered a challenge for the neurosurgeon and a possible source of poor prognosis for the patient. With the widespread use of the endoscope in endonasal surgery, this route has been proposed over the past decade as an alternative technique for the removal of craniopharyngiomas.

Methods

The authors retrospectively analyzed data from a series of 103 patients who underwent the endoscopic endonasal approach at two institutions (Division of Neurosurgery of the Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Naples, Italy, and Division of Neurosurgery of the Bellaria Hospital, Bologna, Italy), between January 1997 and December 2012, for the removal of infra- and/or supradiaphragmatic craniopharyngiomas. Twenty-nine patients (28.2%) had previously been surgically treated.

Results

The authors achieved overall gross-total removal in 68.9% of the cases: 78.9% in purely infradiaphragmatic lesions and 66.3% in lesions involving the supradiaphragmatic space. Among lesions previously treated surgically, the gross-total removal rate was 62.1%. The overall improvement rate in visual disturbances was 74.7%, whereas worsening occurred in 2.5%. No new postoperative defect was noted. Worsening of the anterior pituitary function was reported in 46.2% of patients overall, and there were 38 new cases (48.1% of 79) of postoperative diabetes insipidus. The most common complication was postoperative CSF leakage; the overall rate was 14.6%, and it diminished to 4% in the last 25 procedures, thanks to improvement in reconstruction techniques. The mortality rate was 1.9%, with a mean follow-up duration of 48 months (range 3–246 months).

Conclusions

The endoscopic endonasal approach has become a valid surgical technique for the management of craniopharyngiomas. It provides an excellent corridor to infra- and supradiaphragmatic midline craniopharyngiomas, including the management of lesions extending into the third ventricle chamber. Even though indications for this approach are rigorously lesion based, the data in this study confirm its effectiveness in a large patient series.

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Stephen T. Magill, Ramin A. Morshed, Calixto-Hope G. Lucas, Manish K. Aghi, Philip V. Theodosopoulos, Mitchel S. Berger, Oreste de Divitiis, Domenico Solari, Paolo Cappabianca, Luigi M. Cavallo, and Michael W. McDermott

OBJECTIVE

Tuberculum sellae meningiomas (TSMs) are surgically challenging tumors that can severely impair vision. Debate exists regarding whether the transcranial (TC) or endoscopic transsphenoidal (TS) approach is best for resecting these tumors, and there are few large series comparing these approaches.

METHODS

A retrospective chart review was performed at 2 academic centers comparing TC and TS approaches with respect to vision, extent of resection, recurrence, and complications. The authors report surgical outcomes and propose a simple preoperative tumor grading scale that scores tumor size (1–2), optic canal invasion (0–2), and arterial encasement (0–2). The authors performed univariate, multivariate, and recursive partitioning analysis (RPA) to evaluate outcomes.

RESULTS

The TSMs were resected in 139 patients. The median follow-up was 29 months. Ninety-five (68%) cases were resected via a TC and 44 (32%) via a TS approach. Tumors treated via a TC approach had a higher tumor (p = 0.0007), artery (p < 0.0001), and total score (p = 0.0012) on the grading scale. Preoperative visual deficits were present in 87% of patients. Vision improved in 47%, stayed the same in 35%, declined in 10%, and was not recorded in 8%. The extent of resection was 65% gross-total resection, 23% near-total resection (95%–99% resection), and 12% subtotal resection (< 95%). A lower tumor score was significantly associated with better or stable vision postoperatively (p = 0.0052). The RPA confirmed low tumor score as the key predictor of postoperative visual improvement or stability. Multivariate analysis and RPA demonstrate that lower canal score (p < 0.0001) and TC approach (p = 0.0019) are associated with gross-total resection. Complications occurred in 20 (14%) patients, including CSF leak (5%) and infection (4%). There was no difference in overall complication rates between TC and TS approaches; however, the TS approach had more CSF leaks (OR 5.96, 95% CI 1.10–32.04). The observed recurrence rate was 10%, and there was no difference between the TC and TS approaches.

CONCLUSIONS

Tuberculum sellae meningiomas can be resected using either a TC or TS approach, with low morbidity and good visual outcomes in appropriately selected patients. The simple proposed grading scale provides a standard preoperative method to evaluate TSMs and can serve as a starting point for selection of the surgical approach. Higher scores were associated with worsened visual outcomes and subtotal resection, regardless of approach. The authors plan a multicenter review of this grading scale to further evaluate its utility.

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Iacopo Dallan, Alberto Di Somma, Alberto Prats-Galino, Domenico Solari, Isam Alobid, Mario Turri-Zanoni, Giacomo Fiacchini, Paolo Castelnuovo, Giuseppe Catapano, and Matteo de Notaris

OBJECTIVE

Exposure of the cavernous sinus is technically challenging. The most common surgical approaches use well-known variations of the standard frontotemporal craniotomy. In this paper the authors describe a novel ventral route that enters the lateral wall of the cavernous sinus through an interdural corridor that includes the removal of the greater sphenoid wing via a purely endoscopic transorbital pathway.

METHODS

Five human cadaveric heads (10 sides) were dissected at the Laboratory of Surgical NeuroAnatomy of the University of Barcelona. To expose the lateral wall of the cavernous sinus, a superior eyelid endoscopic transorbital approach was performed and the anterior portion of the greater sphenoid wing was removed. The meningo-orbital band was exposed as the key starting point for revealing the cavernous sinus and its contents in a minimally invasive interdural fashion.

RESULTS

This endoscopic transorbital approach, with partial removal of the greater sphenoid wing followed by a “natural” ventral interdural dissection of the meningo-orbital band, allowed exposure of the entire lateral wall of the cavernous sinus up to the plexiform portion of the trigeminal root and the petrous bone posteriorly and the foramen spinosum, with the middle meningeal artery, laterally.

CONCLUSIONS

The purely endoscopic transorbital approach through the meningo-orbital band provides a direct view of the cavernous sinus through a simple and rapid means of access. Indeed, this interdural pathway lies in the same sagittal plane as the lateral wall of the cavernous sinus. Advantages include a favorable angle of attack, minimal brain retraction, and the possibility for dissection through the interdural space without entering the neurovascular compartment of the cavernous sinus. Surgical series are needed to demonstrate any clinical advantages and disadvantages of this novel route.

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Alberto Di Somma, Jorge Torales, Luigi Maria Cavallo, Jose Pineda, Domenico Solari, Rosa Maria Gerardi, Federico Frio, Joaquim Enseñat, Alberto Prats-Galino, and Paolo Cappabianca

OBJECTIVE

The extended endoscopic endonasal transtuberculum transplanum approach is currently used for the surgical treatment of selected midline anterior skull base lesions. Nevertheless, the possibility of accessing the lateral aspects of the planum sphenoidale could represent a limitation for such an approach. To the authors’ knowledge, a clear definition of the eventual anatomical boundaries has not been delineated. Hence, the present study aimed to detail and quantify the maximum amount of bone removal over the planum sphenoidale required via the endonasal pathway to achieve the most lateral extension of such a corridor and to evaluate the relative surgical freedom.

METHODS

Six human cadaveric heads were dissected at the Laboratory of Surgical NeuroAnatomy of the University of Barcelona. The laboratory rehearsals were run as follows: 1) preliminary predissection CT scans, 2) the endoscopic endonasal transtuberculum transplanum approach (lateral limit: medial optocarotid recess) followed by postdissection CT scans, 3) maximum lateral extension of the transtuberculum transplanum approach followed by postdissection CT scans, and 4) bone removal and surgical freedom analysis (a nonpaired Student t-test). A conventional subfrontal bilateral approach was used to evaluate, from above, the bone removal from the planum sphenoidale and the lateral limit of the endonasal route.

RESULTS

The endoscopic endonasal transtuberculum transplanum approach was extended at its maximum lateral aspect in the lateral portion of the anterior skull base, removing the bone above the optic prominence, that is, the medial portion of the lesser sphenoid wing, including the anterior clinoid process. As expected, a greater bone removal volume was obtained compared with the approach when bone removal is limited to the medial optocarotid recess (average 533.45 vs 296.07 mm2; p < 0.01). The anteroposterior diameter was an average of 8.1 vs 15.78 mm, and the laterolateral diameter was an average of 18.77 vs 44.54 mm (p < 0.01). The neurovascular contents of this area were exposed up to the insular segment of the middle cerebral artery. The surgical freedom analysis revealed a possible increased lateral maneuverability of instruments inserted in the contralateral nostril compared with a midline target (average 384.11 vs 235.31 mm2; p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Bone removal from the medial aspect of the lesser sphenoid wing, including the anterior clinoid process, may increase the exposure and surgical freedom of the extended endoscopic endonasal transtuberculum transplanum approach over the lateral segment of the anterior skull base. Although this study represents a preliminary anatomical investigation, it could be useful to refine the indications and limitations of the endoscopic endonasal corridor for the surgical management of skull base lesions involving the lateral portion of the planum sphenoidale.

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Domenico Solari, Francesco Magro, Paolo Cappabianca, Luigi M. Cavallo, Amir Samii, Felice Esposito, Vincenzo Paternò, Enrico de Divitiis, and Madjid Samii

Object

The pterygopalatine fossa is an area that lies deep within the skull base. The recent extensive use of the endoscopic endonasal approach has provided neurosurgeons with a method to reach various areas of the skull base through a less invasive approach than traditional transcranial or transfacial approaches. This study aims to provide neurosurgeons with new data concerning direct endoscopic measurements and precise anatomical topography features of the pterygopalatine fossa.

Methods

An anatomical dissection of six fixed cadaver heads (12 pterygopalatine fossae) was performed to analyze spatial relationships and distances between the most important neurovascular structures in this region, and to estimate the size of the endoscopic surgical field for operations in this area. The endoscopic endonasal approach offers direct access to the pterygopalatine fossa through its anteromedial walls.

Conclusions

Using an endoscopic endonasal approach makes it possible to identify all of the anatomical landmarks of the pterygopalatine fossa and almost all of the contiguous skull base areas.