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Emanuele La Corte, Philipp R. Aldana, Paolo Ferroli, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Roger Härtl, Vijay K. Anand and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECT

The endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) provides a minimally invasive corridor through which the cervicomedullary junction can be decompressed with reduced morbidity rates compared to those with the classic transoral approaches. The limit of the EEA is its inferior extent, and preoperative estimation of its reach is vital for determining its suitability. The aim of this study was to evaluate the actual inferior limit of the EEA in a surgical series of patients and develop an accurate and reliable predictor that can be used in planning endonasal odontoidectomies.

METHODS

The actual inferior extent of surgery was determined in a series of 6 patients with adequate preoperative and postoperative imaging who underwent endoscopie endonasal odontoidectomy. The medians of the differences between several previously described predictive lines, namely the nasopalatine line (NPL) and nasoaxial line (NAxL), were compared with the actual surgical limit and the hard-palate line by using nonparametric statistics. A novel line, called the rhinopalatine line (RPL), was established and corresponded best with the actual limit of the surgery.

RESULTS

There were 4 adult and 2 pediatric patients included in this study. The NPL overestimated the inferior extent of the surgery by an average (± SD) of 21.9 ± 8.1 mm (range 14.7-32.5 mm). The NAxL and RPL overestimated the inferior limit of surgery by averages of 6.9 ± 3.8 mm (range 3.7-13.3 mm) and 1.7 ± 3.7 mm (range −2.8 to 8.3 mm), respectively. The medians of the differences between the NPL and NAxL and the actual surgery were statistically different (both p = 0.0313). In contrast, there was no statistically significant difference between the RPL and the inferior limit of surgery (p = 0.4375).

CONCLUSIONS

The RPL predicted the inferior limit of the EEA to the craniovertebral junction more accurately than previously described lines. The use of the RPL may help surgeons in choosing suitable candidates for the EEA and in selecting those for whom surgery through the oropharynx or the facial bones is the better approach.

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Jonathan A. Forbes, Matei Banu, Kurt Lehner, Malte Ottenhausen, Emanuele La Corte, Andrew F. Alalade, Edgar G. Ordóñez-Rubiano, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Vijay K. Anand and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Epidermoid cysts (ECs) commonly extend to involve the ventral cisterns of the cranial base. When present, symptoms arise due to progressive mass effect on the brainstem and adjacent cranial nerves. Historically, a variety of open microsurgical approaches have been used for resection of ECs in this intricate region. In recent years, the endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) has been proposed as an alternative corridor that avoids crossing the plane of the cranial nerves. To date, there is a paucity of data in the literature regarding the safety and efficacy of the EEA in the treatment of ECs of the ventral cranial base.

METHODS

The authors reviewed a prospectively acquired database of EEAs for resection of ECs over 8 years at Weill Cornell, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. All procedures were performed by the senior authors. Standardized clinical and radiological parameters were assessed before and after surgery. Statistical tests were used to determine the impact of previous surgery and tumor volume on extent of resection and recurrence as well as the method of closure on rate of CSF leak.

RESULTS

Between January 2009 and February 2017, 7 patients (4 males and 3 females; age range 16–70 years) underwent a total of 8 surgeries for EC resection utilizing the EEA. Transplanum and transclival extensions were performed in 3 and 5 patients, respectively. Methods of closure incorporated a gasket seal in 6 of 8 procedures and a nasoseptal flap in 7 of 8 procedures. Gross-total resection (GTR) was achieved in 43% of patients, and near-total resection (> 95%) was obtained in another 43%. Complications included diabetes insipidus (n = 2), postoperative CSF leak (n = 2), transient third cranial nerve palsy (n = 1), and epistaxis (n = 1). With a mean follow-up of 43.5 months, recurrence has been observed in 2 of 7 patients. In 1 case, reoperation for recurrence was required 71 months following the initial surgery. Use of the gasket-seal technique with nasoseptal flap coverage significantly correlated with the absence of postoperative CSF leakage (p = 0.018). GTR was achieved in 25% of the patients who had prior surgeries and in 50% of patients without previous resections. The mean volume of cysts in which GTR was achieved (4.3 ± 1.8 cm3) was smaller than that in which subtotal or near-total resection was achieved (12.2 ± 11 cm3, p = 0.134).

CONCLUSIONS

The EEA for resection of ECs of the ventral cranial base is a safe and effective operative strategy that avoids crossing the plane of the cranial nerves. In the authors’ experience, gasket-seal closure with nasoseptal flap coverage has been associated with a decreased risk of postoperative CSF leakage.

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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).

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Malte Ottenhausen, Kavelin Rumalla, Andrew F. Alalade, Prakash Nair, Emanuele La Corte, Iyan Younus, Jonathan A. Forbes, Atef Ben Nsir, Matei A. Banu, Apostolos John Tsiouris and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Anterior skull base meningiomas are benign lesions that cause neurological symptoms through mass effect on adjacent neurovascular structures. While traditional transcranial approaches have proven to be effective at removing these tumors, minimally invasive approaches that involve using an endoscope offer the possibility of reducing brain and nerve retraction, minimizing incision size, and speeding patient recovery; however, appropriate case selection and results in large series are lacking.

METHODS

The authors developed an algorithm for selecting a supraorbital keyhole minicraniotomy (SKM) for olfactory groove meningiomas or an expanded endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) for tuberculum sella (TS) or planum sphenoidale (PS) meningiomas based on the presence or absence of olfaction and the anatomical extent of the tumor. Where neither approach is appropriate, a standard transcranial approach is utilized. The authors describe rates of gross-total resection (GTR), olfactory outcomes, and visual outcomes, as well as complications, for 7 subgroups of patients. Exceptions to the algorithm are also discussed.

RESULTS

The series of 57 patients harbored 57 anterior skull base meningiomas; the mean tumor volume was 14.7 ± 15.4 cm3 (range 2.2–66.1 cm3), and the mean follow-up duration was 42.2 ± 37.1 months (range 2–144 months). Of 19 patients with olfactory groove meningiomas, 10 had preserved olfaction and underwent SKM, and preservation of olfaction in was seen in 60%. Of 9 patients who presented without olfaction, 8 had cribriform plate invasion and underwent combined SKM and EEA (n = 3), bifrontal craniotomy (n = 3), or EEA (n = 2), and one patient without both olfaction and cribriform plate invasion underwent SKM. GTR was achieved in 94.7%. Of 38 TS/PS meningiomas, 36 of the lesions were treated according to the algorithm. Of these 36 meningiomas, 30 were treated by EEA and 6 by craniotomy. GTR was achieved in 97.2%, with no visual deterioration and one CSF leak that resolved by placement of a lumbar drain. Two patients with tumors that, based on the algorithm, were not amenable to an EEA underwent EEA nonetheless: one had GTR and the other had a residual tumor that was followed and removed via craniotomy 9 years later.

CONCLUSIONS

Utilizing a simple algorithm aimed at preserving olfaction and vision and based on maximizing use of minimally invasive approaches and selective use of transcranial approaches, the authors found that excellent outcomes can be achieved for anterior skull base meningiomas.

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Paolo Ferroli, Morgan Broggi, Silvia Schiavolin, Francesco Acerbi, Valentina Bettamio, Dario Caldiroli, Alberto Cusin, Emanuele La Corte, Matilde Leonardi, Alberto Raggi, Marco Schiariti, Sergio Visintini, Angelo Franzini and Giovanni Broggi

OBJECT

The Milan Complexity Scale—a new practical grading scale designed to estimate the risk of neurological clinical worsening after performing surgery for tumor removal—is presented.

METHODS

A retrospective study was conducted on all elective consecutive surgical procedures for tumor resection between January 2012 and December 2014 at the Second Division of Neurosurgery at Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta of Milan. A prospective database dedicated to reporting complications and all clinical and radiological data was retrospectively reviewed. The Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) was used to classify each patient’s health status. Complications were divided into major and minor and recorded based on etiology and required treatment. A logistic regression model was used to identify possible predictors of clinical worsening after surgery in terms of changes between the preoperative and discharge KPS scores. Statistically significant predictors were rated based on their odds ratios in order to build an ad hoc complexity scale. For each patient, a corresponding total score was calculated, and ANOVA was performed to compare the mean total scores between the improved/unchanged and worsened patients. Relative risk (RR) and chi-square statistics were employed to provide the risk of worsening after surgery for each total score.

RESULTS

The case series was composed of 746 patients (53.2% female; mean age 51.3 ± 17.1). The most common tumors were meningiomas (28.6%) and glioblastomas (24.1%). The mortality rate was 0.94%, the major complication rate was 9.1%, and the minor complication rate was 32.6%. Of 746 patients, 523 (70.1%) patients improved or remained unchanged, and 223 (29.9%) patients worsened. The following factors were found to be statistically significant predictors of the change in KPS scores: tumor size larger than 4 cm, cranial nerve manipulation, major brain vessel manipulation, posterior fossa location, and eloquent area involvement (Nagelkerke R2 = 0.286). A grading scale was obtained with scores ranging between 0 and 8. Worsened patients showed mean total scores that were significantly higher than the improved/unchanged scores (3.24 ± 1.55 vs 1.47 ± 1.58; p < 0.001). Finally, a grid was developed to show the risk of worsening after surgery for each total score: scores higher than 3 are suggestive of worse clinical outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

Through the evaluation of the 5 aforementioned parameters—the Big Five—the Milan Complexity Scale enables neurosurgeons to estimate the risk of a negative clinical course after brain tumor surgery and share these data with the patient. Furthermore, the Milan Complexity Scale could be used for research and educational purposes and better health system management.