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H. Hunt Batjer and Duke S. Samson

✓ Giant paraclinoidal carotid artery aneurysms frequently require temporary interruption of local circulation to facilitate safe occlusion. Due to brisk retrograde flow through the ophthalmic artery and cavernous branches, simple trapping of the aneurysm by cervical internal carotid artery clamping and intracranial distal clipping may not adequately soften the lesion. The authors describe a retrograde suction method of aspiration of this collateral supply which they have used in over 40 cases. After temporary trapping, a No. 18 angiocatheter is inserted into the cervical internal carotid artery. This catheter is then connected to a wall suction point allowing rapid aneurysm deflation. This technique, accomplished by the surgical assistant, permits the surgeon the freedom to use both hands in dealing quickly with the aneurysm.

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Duke S. Samson, Richard M. Hodosh and W. Kemp Clark

✓ The natural history of unruptured asymptomatic aneurysms is unclear. Because of this uncertainty regarding risk of ultimate enlargement and/or hemorrhage, and in view of the significant mortality and morbidity traditionally involved in aneurysm surgery, clinicians have varied in their advocacy of surgical management of such lesions. Forty-nine consecutive patients harboring 52 such aneurysms were treated surgically over a 57-month period. There were no surgical deaths and morbidity was within acceptable limits. Patient population characteristics and surgical technique are discussed.

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Duke S. Samson and Babu G. Welch

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H. Hunt Batjer, Alan I. Frankfurt, Phillip D. Purdy, Shirley S. Smith and Duke S. Samson

✓ The operative management of large and giant aneurysms is complicated by their typically atheromatous and thick walls, frequent intramural thrombosis with calcification, and broad-based necks that often incorporate perforating and other vital vessels. Not infrequently, it is necessary to at least focally arrest the intracranial circulation and open or excise these aneurysms to facilitate vascular reconstruction. This maneuver, in patients whose disease processes have destroyed autoregulatory function or who have inadequate sources of anatomical collateral supply, may cause the threshold for permanent ischemic injury to be exceeded. The authors have recently treated 14 such patients while under electroencephalographic monitoring to document electrical burst suppression induced by the administration of etomidate, followed by temporary clipping to permit vascular repair and intraoperative angiography to document patency of parent arteries. Up to 60 minutes of internal carotid artery occlusion, 35 minutes of middle cerebral artery occlusion, 19 minutes of upper basilar artery occlusion, and 4½ minutes of lower basilar artery occlusion have been well tolerated using this protocol. In such situations, etomidate may be effective in protecting the cerebral circulation without the detrimental cardiotoxicity observed with protective doses of barbiturates.

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H. Hunt Batjer, Thomas A. Kopitnik, Cole A. Giller and Duke S. Samson

✓ Aneurysms arising from the proximal carotid artery between the roof of the cavernous sinus and the origin of the posterior communicating artery pose conceptual and technical surgical problems with regard to acquisition of proximal control and safe intracranial exposure. Over the past 3½ years, 89 patients with paraclinoidal aneurysms have been treated at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Thirty-nine (44%) of these patients presented with subarachnoid hemorrhage. A total of 149 aneurysms and six arteriovenous malformations have been identified in this patient group such that 38 (43%) of the patients suffered multiple vascular anomalies. Temporary artery occlusion has been employed during operation in 48 cases (54%), permanent carotid artery occlusion in four (4%), and hypothermic circulatory arrest in two (2%). Twenty-two patients harbored giant aneurysms, seven of which had ruptured. Outcome was considered good in 77 patients (86.5%), fair in eight (9%), and poor in three (3%); one patient died.

This concentrated experience permitted a practical anatomical grouping of aneurysms into three types: carotid-ophthalmic artery aneurysms with a superior or superomedial projection (44 cases); superior hypophyseal aneurysms with a medial or inferomedial projection (26 cases); and proximal posterior carotid artery wall aneurysms projecting posteriorly or posterolaterally (19 cases). Despite the fact that paraclinoidal aneurysms often disobey the traditional teachings of aneurysm development, having no vessel of origin or clear hemodynamic cause, this practical grouping has allowed individualized and focused operative approaches unique to each aneurysm projection with good visual function and outcome in most patients.

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Bruno C. Flores, Anthony R. Whittemore, Duke S. Samson and Samuel L. Barnett


Resection of brainstem cavernous malformations (BSCMs) may reduce the risk of stepwise neurological deterioration secondary to hemorrhage, but the morbidity of surgery remains high. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and diffusion tensor tractography (DTT) are neuroimaging techniques that may assist in the complex surgical planning necessary for these lesions. The authors evaluate the utility of preoperative DTI and DTT in the surgical management of BSCMs and their correlation with functional outcome.


A retrospective review was conducted to identify patients who underwent resection of a BSCM between 2007 and 2012. All patients had preoperative DTI/DTT studies and a minimum of 6 months of clinical and radiographic follow-up. Five major fiber tracts were evaluated preoperatively using the DTI/DTT protocol: 1) corticospinal tract, 2) medial lemniscus and medial longitudinal fasciculus, 3) inferior cerebellar peduncle, 4) middle cerebellar peduncle, and 5) superior cerebellar peduncle. Scores were applied according to the degree of distortion seen, and the sum of scores was used for analysis. Functional outcomes were measured at hospital admission, discharge, and last clinic visit using modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores.


Eleven patients who underwent resection of a BSCM and preoperative DTI were identified. The mean age at presentation was 49 years, with a male-to-female ratio of 1.75:1. Cranial nerve deficit was the most common presenting symptom (81.8%), followed by cerebellar signs or gait/balance difficulties (54.5%) and hemibody anesthesia (27.2%). The majority of the lesions were located within the pons (54.5%). The mean diameter and estimated volume of lesions were 1.21 cm and 1.93 cm3, respectively. Using DTI and DTT, 9 patients (82%) were found to have involvement of 2 or more major fiber tracts; the corticospinal tract and medial lemniscus/medial longitudinal fasciculus were the most commonly affected. In 2 patients with BSCMs without pial presentation, DTI/DTT findings were important in the selection of the surgical approach. In 2 other patients, the results from preoperative DTI/DTT were important for selection of brainstem entry zones. All 11 patients underwent gross-total resection of their BSCMs. After a mean postoperative follow-up duration of 32.04 months, all 11 patients had excellent or good outcome (mRS Score 0–3) at the time of last outpatient clinic evaluation. DTI score did not correlate with long-term outcome.


Preoperative DTI and DTT should be considered in the resection of symptomatic BSCMs. These imaging studies may influence the selection of surgical approach or brainstem entry zones, especially in deep-seated lesions without pial or ependymal presentation. DTI/DTT findings may allow for more aggressive management of lesions previously considered surgically inaccessible. Preoperative DTI/DTT changes do not appear to correlate with functional postoperative outcome in long-term follow-up.

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Atif Haque, Jack M. Raisanen, Samuel L. Barnett and Duke S. Samson

Postoperative intracranial infections, although found in only a minority of surgical cases, remain a recognized potential complication following elective craniotomy. In the treatment of intracranial aneurysms, specifically, reports of significant postoperative infections are rare. Significant postoperative infections are usually observed in association with foreign bodies, such as aneurysm clips, endovascular coils, or materials used for aneurysm wrapping. The authors present a case in which a patient underwent craniotomy for surgical clip ligation of a giant ophthalmic artery aneurysm without resection of the aneurysm mass; the patient then presented again approximately 4 months later with a first-time seizure. Following a second craniotomy for resection of the aneurysm mass, the aneurysm contents were noted on pathological examination to contain gram-positive rods, and the aneurysm wall was noted to contain inflammatory cells. Although cultures were not obtained, Propionibacterium acnes was detected using polymerase chain reaction. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this case represents the second reported case of an intraaneurysmal abscess and the first reported instance of a presumed secondary infection of a giant intracranial aneurysm remnant following surgical clip ligation.

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Bruno C. Flores, Jonathan A. White, H. Hunt Batjer and Duke S. Samson


Paraclinoid internal carotid artery (ICA) aneurysms frequently require temporary occlusion to facilitate safe clipping. Brisk retrograde flow through the ophthalmic artery and cavernous ICA branches make simple trapping inadequate to soften the aneurysm. The retrograde suction decompression (RSD), or Dallas RSD, technique was described in 1990 in an attempt to overcome some of those treatment limitations. A frequent criticism of the RSD technique is an allegedly high risk of cervical ICA dissection. An endovascular modification was introduced in 1991 (endovascular RSD) but no studies have compared the 2 RSD variations.


The authors performed a systematic review of MEDLINE/PubMed and Web of Science and identified all studies from 1990–2016 in which either Dallas RSD or endovascular RSD was used for treatment of paraclinoid aneurysms. A pooled analysis of the data was completed to identify important demographic and treatment-specific variables. The primary outcome measure was defined as successful aneurysm obliteration. Secondary outcome variables were divided into overall and RSD-specific morbidity and mortality rates.


Twenty-six RSD studies met the inclusion criteria (525 patients, 78.9% female). The mean patient age was 53.5 years. Most aneurysms were unruptured (56.6%) and giant (49%). The most common presentations were subarachnoid hemorrhage (43.6%) and vision changes (25.3%). The aneurysm obliteration rate was 95%. The mean temporary occlusion time was 12.7 minutes. Transient or permanent morbidity was seen in 19.9% of the patients. The RSD-specific complication rate was low (1.3%). The overall mortality rate was 4.2%, with 2 deaths (0.4%) attributable to the RSD technique itself. Good or fair outcome were reported in 90.7% of the patients.

Aneurysm obliteration rates were similar in the 2 subgroups (Dallas RSD 94.3%, endovascular RSD 96.3%, p = 0.33). Despite a higher frequency of complex (giant or ruptured) aneurysms, Dallas RSD was associated with lower RSD-related morbidity (0.6% vs 2.9%, p = 0.03), compared with the endovascular RSD subgroup. There was a trend toward higher mortality in the endovascular RSD subgroup (6.4% vs 3.1%, p = 0.08). The proportion of patients with poor neurological outcome at last follow-up was significantly higher in the endovascular RSD group (15.4% vs 7.2%, p < 0.01).


The treatment of paraclinoid ICA aneurysms using the RSD technique is associated with high aneurysm obliteration rates, good long-term neurological outcome, and low RSD-related morbidity and mortality. Review of the RSD literature showed no evidence of a higher complication rate associated with the Dallas technique compared with similar endovascular methods. On a subgroup analysis of Dallas RSD and endovascular RSD, both groups achieved similar obliteration rates, but a lower RSD-related morbidity was seen in the Dallas technique subgroup. Twenty-five years after its initial publication, RSD remains a useful neurosurgical technique for the management of large and giant paraclinoid aneurysms.

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Roberto C. Heros

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Christopher L. Taylor, Debra Steele, Thomas A. Kopitnik Jr., Duke S. Samson and Phillip D. Purdy

Object. A case-control analysis of patients with SAH was performed to compare risk factors and outcomes at 6 months posthemorrhage in patients with a very small aneurysm compared with those with a larger aneurysm.

Methods. All patients with SAH who were treated between January 1998 and December 1999 were studied. A very small aneurysm was defined as “equal to or less than 5 mm in diameter.” Clinical data and treatment summaries were maintained in an electronic database. The Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) score was determined by an independent registrar.

One hundred twenty-seven patients were treated. A very small aneurysm was the cause of SAH in 42 patients (33%), whereas 85 (67%) had aneurysms larger than 5 mm (mean diameter 11 mm). There were no differences in demographic variables or medical comorbidities between the two groups. Thick SAH (Fisher Grade 3 or 4) was more common in patients with a very small aneurysm than in those with a larger aneurysm (p = 0.028). One hundred eight patients underwent microsurgery (85%), 15 underwent coil embolization (12%), and four (3%) required both procedures. Vasospasm occurred in nine patients (21%) with very small aneurysms compared with 14 (16%) with larger aneurysms (p = 0.62). Shunt-dependent hydrocephalus occurred in nine patients (21%) with very small aneurysms and in 19 (22%) with larger aneurysms (p = 1). The mean GOS score for both groups was 4 (moderately disabled) at 6 months.

Conclusions. Small aneurysms produce thick SAH more often than larger aneurysms. There is no difference in outcome after SAH between patients with a very small aneurysm and those with a larger aneurysm.