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

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Jacek Kunicki

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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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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.

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Luigi M. Cavallo, Daniel M. Prevedello, Domenico Solari, Paul A. Gardner, Felice Esposito, Carl H. Snyderman, Ricardo L. Carrau, Amin B. Kassam and Paolo Cappabianca

Object

The management of recurrent or residual craniopharyngiomas remains controversial. Although possible, revision surgery is more challenging than primary surgery, and more often results in incomplete resection and an increased risk of death and complications. The extended (also called expanded) endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal approach through the planum sphenoidale has been proposed over the past decade as an alternative surgical route for removal of various suprasellar tumors including craniopharyngiomas. In this study, the authors describe the feasibility and advantages of this technique in recurrent or symptomatic residual craniopharyngiomas.

Methods

Between January 2004 and June 2008, 22 patients underwent surgery via the extended endoscopic transsphenoidal approach for the treatment of recurrent or residual symptomatic craniopharyngiomas at either the University of Pittsburgh or the Universita degli Studi di Napoli. The lesions included 12 purely suprasellar craniopharyngiomas, 9 with both intra- and suprasellar extensions, and 1 arising from a remnant in the Meckel cave. To better evaluate the features of the extended endonasal approach for recurrent or residual craniopharyngiomas, each patient was assigned to 1 of 3 subgroups depending on the original surgical treatment: transcranial pterional route (13 patients), transphenoidal approach (3 patients; 2 microsurgically and 1 with the standard endoscopic technique), or extended endonasal endoscopic approach (6 patients).

Results

Total removal was achieved in 9 patients (40.9%), and in 8 patients (36.4%) near-total removal (defined as > 95% removal) was possible. Subtotal removal (> 70%) was attained in 4 patients (18.2%), and tumor removal was partial (< 50%) in only 1 case (4.5%). There were no deaths or major complications, including behavior changes. Postoperative CSF leaks developed in 2 patients in the transcranial subgroup, and 1 in the transsphenoidal subgroup (overall rate 13.6%), requiring early successful endoscopic revision surgery for the cranial base defect.

Conclusions

Most of the advantages of the endoscopic endonasal technique were noted during tumor dissection from the inferior aspect of the chiasm, the infundibulum, the third ventricle, and/or the retro- and parasellar areas. These benefits were best appreciated in patients who had originally undergone transcranial surgery, since in such cases the authors' endoscopic endonasal approach was a virgin route. However, the extended endoscopic endonasal technique can also be safely used in patients who originally underwent transsphenoidal surgery. The endoscopic endonasal technique should be considered as a therapeutic option in selected cases of recurrent or symptomatic residual craniopharyngiomas.

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Alberto Di Somma, Luigi Maria Cavallo, Matteo de Notaris, Domenico Solari, Thomaz E. Topczewski, Manuel Bernal-Sprekelsen, Joaquim Enseñat, Alberto Prats-Galino and Paolo Cappabianca

OBJECTIVE

Different surgical routes have been used over the years to achieve adequate decompression of the optic nerve in its canal including, more recently, endoscopic approaches performed either through the endonasal corridor or the transorbital one. The present study aimed to detail and quantify the amount of bone removal around the optic canal, achievable via medial-to-lateral endonasal and lateral-to-medial transorbital endoscopic trajectories.

METHODS

Five human cadaveric heads (10 sides) were dissected at the Laboratory of Surgical Neuroanatomy of the University of Barcelona (Spain). The laboratory rehearsals were run as follows: 1) preliminary preoperative CT scans of each specimen, 2) anatomical endoscopic endonasal and transorbital dissections and Dextroscope-based morphometric analysis, and 3) quantitative analysis of optic canal bone removal for both endonasal and transorbital endoscopic approaches.

RESULTS

The endoscopic endonasal route permitted exposure and removal of the most inferomedial portion of the optic canal (an average of 168°), whereas the transorbital pathway allowed good control of its superolateral part (an average of 192°). Considering the total circumference of the optic canal (360°), the transorbital route enabled removal of a mean of 53.3% of bone, mainly the superolateral portion. The endonasal approach provided bone removal of a mean of 46.7% of the inferomedial aspect. This result was found to be statistically significant (p < 0.05). The morphometric analysis performed with the aid of the Dextroscope (a virtual reality environment) showed that the simulation of the transorbital trajectory may provide a shorter surgical corridor with a wider angle of approach (39.6 mm; 46.8°) compared with the simulation of the endonasal pathway (52.9 mm; 23.8°).

CONCLUSIONS

Used together, these 2 endoscopic surgical paths (endonasal and transorbital) may allow a 360° decompression of the optic nerve. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first anatomical study on transorbital optic nerve decompression to show its feasibility. Further studies and, eventually, surgical case series are mandatory to confirm the effectiveness of these approaches, thereby refining the proper indications for each of them.

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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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Matteo de Notaris, Domenico Solari, Luigi M. Cavallo, Alfonso Iodice D'Enza, Joaquim Enseñat, Joan Berenguer, Enrique Ferrer, Alberto Prats-Galino and Paolo Cappabianca

Object

The tuberculum sellae is a bony elevation ridge that lines up the anterior aspect of the sella, dividing it from the chiasmatic groove. The recent use of the endoscopic endonasal transtuberculum approach has provided surgeons with a method to reach the suprasellar area, offering a new surgical point of view somehow “opposite” of this area. The authors of this study aimed to define the tuberculum sellae as seen from the endoscopic endonasal view while also providing CT-based systematic measurements to objectively detail the anatomical features of such a structure, which was renamed the “suprasellar notch.”

Methods

The authors analyzed routine skull CT scans from 24 patients with no brain pathology or fractures and measured the interoptic distance at the level of the limbus sphenoidale, the chiasmatic groove sulcal length and width, and the angle of the suprasellar notch.

Indeed, the suprasellar notch was defined as the angle between 2 lines, the first passing through the tuberculum sellae midpoint and perpendicular to the cribriform plate, and a second line passing between 2 points, the midpoints of the limbus sphenoidale and the tuberculum sellae. Moreover, the authors performed on 15 cadaveric heads an endoscopic endonasal transplanum transtuberculum approach with the aid of a neuronavigator to achieve a step-by-step comparison with the radiological data. The whole CT scanning set was statistically analyzed to determine the statistical interdependency of the suprasellar notch angle with the other 3 measurements, that is, the sulcal length at the midline, the interoptic distance at the optic canal entrance, and the interoptic distance at the limbus.

Results

Based on the endoscopic endonasal view and CT imaging analysis, the authors identified a certain anatomical variability and thus introduced a new classification of the suprasellar notch: Type I, angle < 118°; Type II, angle of 118°–138°; and Type III, angle > 138°. They then analyzed the surgical implications of the endoscopic endonasal approach to the suprasellar area, which could be affected by each of these structural types.

Conclusions

The new classification identifies 3 different types of suprasellar notch and, accordingly, their surgical relevance. Above all, the authors found that the different types of suprasellar notch can affect the osteodural defect reconstruction technique, namely the positioning/wedging of the buttress in the extradural space. A precise endoscopic anatomical knowledge of the neurovascular and bony relationships—especially in cases of a less pneumatized sphenoid sinus—is crucial when approaching the anterior skull base via a transtuberculum transplanum route.

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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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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.