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Manfred Mühlbauer, Wolfgang Pfisterer, Richard Eyb and Engelbert Knosp

Anterior decompressive surgery with spinal fusion is considered an effective treatment for thoracolumbar fractures and tumors. However, it is also known to be associated with considerable surgical approach–related trauma. The purpose of this study was to show that lumbar corpectomy and spinal reconstruction can be performed via a minimally invasive retroperitoneal (MIR) approach and therefore, the surgical approach–related trauma can be reduced.

The hospital records and radiological studies obtained in five patients (mean age 67.4 years, range 59-76 years) who underwent lumbar corpectomy and spinal fusion via an MIR approach were studied retrospectively. Four patients presented with osteoporotic compression fractures at L-2 and L-3 and one patient with metastatic disease at L-4 from prostate cancer. In all patients neurological deficits due to cauda equina compression were demonstrated.

The MIR approach provided excellent exposure to facilitate complete spinal decompression and reconstruction in all patients, as verified on follow-up x-ray studies. All patients improved clinically. A 1-year follow-up record, available for four patients, showed evidence of continuing clinical improvement and, radiographically, a solid fusion or a stable compound union and anatomically correct reconstruction.

The MIR approach allows anterior lumbar spine surgery to be performed less invasively. The efficacy and safety of this technique compared with the conventional retroperitoneal approach to lumbar spine surgery should be further investigated in a larger series.

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Manfred Mühlbauer, Wolfgang Pfisterer, Richard Eyb and Engelbert Knosp

✓ The anterior decompressive procedure in which spinal fusion is performed is considered an effective treatment for thoracolumbar fractures and tumors. However, it is also known to be associated with considerable surgery-related trauma. The purpose of this study was to show that lumbar corpectomy and anterior reconstruction can be performed via a minimally invasive retroperitoneal approach (MIRA) and therefore the surgical approach—related trauma can be reduced.

The authors studied retrospectively the hospital records and radiological studies obtained in five patients (mean age 67.4 years, range 59–76 years) who underwent lumbar corpectomy and spinal fusion via an MIRA followed by posterior fixation. Four patients presented with osteoporotic compression fractures at L-2 and L-3, and one patient presented with metastatic disease in L-4 from prostate cancer. Neurological deficits due to cauda equina compression were demonstrated in all patients.

The MIRA provided excellent exposure to facilitate complete decompression and anterior reconstruction in all patients, as verified on follow-up radiographic studies. All patients improved clinically. A 1-year follow-up record is available for four patients and a 6-month follow-up record for the fifth patient; continuing clinical improvement has been observed in all. Radiography demonstrated anatomically correct reconstruction in all patients, as well as a solid fusion or a stable compound union in the four patients for whom 1-year follow-up records were available.

The MIRA allows the surgeon to perform anterior lumbar spine surgery via a less invasive approach. The efficacy and safety of this technique and its potential to reduce perioperative morbidity compared with conventional retroperitoneal lumbar spine surgery should be further investigated in a larger series.

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Alexander S. G. Micko, Adelheid Wöhrer, Stefan Wolfsberger and Engelbert Knosp

OBJECT

An important prognostic factor for the surgical outcome and recurrence of a pituitary adenoma is its invasiveness into parasellar tissue, particularly into the space of the cavernous sinus (CS). The aims of this study were to reevaluate the existing parasellar classifications using an endoscopic technique and to evaluate the clinical and radiological outcomes associated with each grade.

METHODS

The authors investigated 137 pituitary macroadenomas classified radiologically at least on one side as Grade 1 or higher (parasellar extension) and correlated the surgical findings using an endoscopic technique, with special reference to the invasiveness of the tumor into the CS. In each case, postoperative MRI was performed to evaluate the gross-total resection (GTR) rate and the rate of endocrinological remission (ER) in functioning adenomas.

RESULTS

The authors found a 16% rate of CS invasion during surgery for these macroadenomas. Adenomas radiologically classified as Grade 1 were found to be invasive in 1.5%, and the GTR/ER rate was 83%/88%. For Grade 2 adenomas, the rate of invasion was 9.9%, and the GTR/ER rate was 71%/60%. For Grade 3 adenomas, the rate of invasion was 37.9%, and the GTR/ER rate was 75%/33%. When the superior compartment of the CS (Grade 3A) was involved, the authors found a rate of invasion that was lower (p < 0.001) than that when the inferior compartment was involved (Grade 3B). The rate of invasion in Grade 3A adenomas was 26.5% with a GTR/ER rate of 85%/67%, whereas for Grade 3B adenomas, the rate of surgically observed invasion was 70.6% with a GTR/ER rate of 64%/0%. All of the Grade 4 adenomas were invasive, and the GTR/ER rate was 0%.

A comparison of microscopic and endoscopic techniques revealed no difference in adenomas with Grade 1 or 4 parasellar extension. In Grade 2 adenomas, however, the CS was found by the endoscopic technique to be invaded in 9.9% and by microscopic evaluation to be invaded in 88% (p < 0.001); in Grade 3 adenomas, the difference was 37.9% versus 86%, respectively (p = 0.002). Grade 4 adenomas had a statistically significant lower rate of GTR than those of all the other grades. In case of ER only, Grade 1 adenomas had a statistically significant higher rate of remission than did Grade 3B and Grade 4 adenomas.

CONCLUSIONS

The proposed classification proved that with increasing grades, the likelihood of surgically observed invasion rises and the chance of GTR and ER decreases. The direct endoscopic view confirmed the low rate of invasion of Grade 1 adenomas but showed significantly lower rates of invasion in Grade 2 and 3 adenomas than those previously found using the microscopic technique. In cases in which the intracavernous internal carotid artery was encased (Grade 4), all the adenomas were invasive and the GTR/ER rate was 0%/0%. The authors suggest the addition of Grades 3A and 3B to distinguish the strikingly different outcomes of adenomas invading the superior CS compartments and those invading the inferior CS compartments.

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Aygül Mert, Barbara Kiesel, Adelheid Wöhrer, Mauricio Martínez-Moreno, Georgi Minchev, Julia Furtner, Engelbert Knosp, Stefan Wolfsberger and Georg Widhalm

OBJECT

Surgery of suspected low-grade gliomas (LGGs) poses a special challenge for neurosurgeons due to their diffusely infiltrative growth and histopathological heterogeneity. Consequently, neuronavigation with multimodality imaging data, such as structural and metabolic data, fiber tracking, and 3D brain visualization, has been proposed to optimize surgery. However, currently no standardized protocol has been established for multimodality imaging data in modern glioma surgery. The aim of this study was therefore to define a specific protocol for multimodality imaging and navigation for suspected LGG.

METHODS

Fifty-one patients who underwent surgery for a diffusely infiltrating glioma with nonsignificant contrast enhancement on MRI and available multimodality imaging data were included. In the first 40 patients with glioma, the authors retrospectively reviewed the imaging data, including structural MRI (contrast-enhanced T1-weighted, T2-weighted, and FLAIR sequences), metabolic images derived from PET, or MR spectroscopy chemical shift imaging, fiber tracking, and 3D brain surface/vessel visualization, to define standardized image settings and specific indications for each imaging modality. The feasibility and surgical relevance of this new protocol was subsequently prospectively investigated during surgery with the assistance of an advanced electromagnetic navigation system in the remaining 11 patients. Furthermore, specific surgical outcome parameters, including the extent of resection, histological analysis of the metabolic hotspot, presence of a new postoperative neurological deficit, and intraoperative accuracy of 3D brain visualization models, were assessed in each of these patients.

RESULTS

After reviewing these first 40 cases of glioma, the authors defined a specific protocol with standardized image settings and specific indications that allows for optimal and simultaneous visualization of structural and metabolic data, fiber tracking, and 3D brain visualization. This new protocol was feasible and was estimated to be surgically relevant during navigation-guided surgery in all 11 patients. According to the authors' predefined surgical outcome parameters, they observed a complete resection in all resectable gliomas (n = 5) by using contour visualization with T2-weighted or FLAIR images. Additionally, tumor tissue derived from the metabolic hotspot showed the presence of malignant tissue in all WHO Grade III or IV gliomas (n = 5). Moreover, no permanent postoperative neurological deficits occurred in any of these patients, and fiber tracking and/or intraoperative monitoring were applied during surgery in the vast majority of cases (n = 10). Furthermore, the authors found a significant intraoperative topographical correlation of 3D brain surface and vessel models with gyral anatomy and superficial vessels. Finally, real-time navigation with multimodality imaging data using the advanced electromagnetic navigation system was found to be useful for precise guidance to surgical targets, such as the tumor margin or the metabolic hotspot.

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, the authors defined a specific protocol for multimodality imaging data in suspected LGGs, and they propose the application of this new protocol for advanced navigation-guided procedures optimally in conjunction with continuous electromagnetic instrument tracking to optimize glioma surgery.

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Matthias Millesi, Barbara Kiesel, Mario Mischkulnig, Mauricio Martínez-Moreno, Adelheid Wöhrer, Stefan Wolfsberger, Engelbert Knosp and Georg Widhalm

OBJECTIVE

One of the most important causes for recurrence of intracranial meningiomas is residual tumor tissue that remains despite assumed complete resection. Recently, intraoperative visualization of meningioma tissue by 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA)–induced protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) fluorescence was reported. The aim of this study was to investigate the possible surgical benefits of PpIX fluorescence for detection of meningioma tissue.

METHODS

5-ALA was administered preoperatively to 190 patients undergoing resection of 204 intracranial meningiomas. The meningiomas' PpIX fluorescence status, fluorescence quality (strong or vague), and intratumoral fluorescence homogeneity were investigated during surgery. Additionally, specific sites, including the dural tail, tumor-infiltrated bone flap, adjacent cortex, and potential satellite lesions, were analyzed for PpIX fluorescence in selected cases.

RESULTS

PpIX fluorescence was observed in 185 (91%) of 204 meningiomas. In the subgroup of sphenoorbital meningiomas (12 of 204 cases), the dural part showed visible PpIX fluorescence in 9 cases (75%), whereas the bony part did not show any PpIX fluorescence in 10 cases (83%). Of all fluorescing meningiomas, 168 (91%) showed strong PpIX fluorescence. Typically, most meningiomas demonstrated homogeneous fluorescence (75% of cases). No PpIX fluorescence was observed in any of the investigated 89 dural tails. In contrast, satellite lesions could be identified through PpIX fluorescence in 7 cases. Furthermore, tumor-infiltrated bone flaps could be visualized by PpIX fluorescence in all 13 cases. Notably, PpIX fluorescence was also present in the adjacent cortex in 20 (25%) of 80 analyzed cases.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors' data from this largest patient cohort to date indicate that PpIX fluorescence enables intraoperatively visualization of most intracranial meningiomas and allows identification of residual tumor tissue at specific sites. Thus, intraoperative detection of residual meningioma tissue by PpIX fluorescence might in future reduce the risk of recurrence.

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Klaus Novak, Georg Widhalm, Adauri Bueno de Camargo, Noel Perin, George Jallo, Engelbert Knosp and Vedran Deletis

Object

Thoracic idiopathic spinal cord herniation (TISCH) is a rare neurological disorder characterized by an incarceration of the spinal cord at the site of a ventral dural defect. The disorder is associated with clinical signs of progressive thoracic myelopathy. Surgery can withhold the natural clinical course, but surgical repair of the dural defect bears a significant risk of additional postoperative motor deficits, including permanent paraplegia. Intraoperative online information about the functional integrity of the spinal cord and warning signs about acute functional impairment of motor pathways could contribute to a lower risk of permanent postoperative motor deficit. Motor evoked potential (MEP) monitoring can instantly and reliably detect dysfunction of motor pathways in the spinal cord. The authors have applied MEPs during intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring (IOM) for surgical repair of TISCH and have correlated the results of IOM with its influence on the surgical procedure and with the functional postoperative outcome.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the intraoperative neurophysiological data and clinical records of 4 patients who underwent surgical treatment for TISCH in 3 institutions where IOM, including somatosensory evoked potentials and MEPs, is routinely used for spinal cord surgery. In all 4 patients the spinal cord was reduced from a posterior approach and the dural defect was repaired using a dural graft.

Results

Motor evoked potential monitoring was feasible in all patients. Significant intraoperative changes of MEPs were observed in 2 patients. The changes were detected within seconds after manipulation of the spinal cord. Monitoring of MEPs led to immediate revision of the placement of the dural graft in one case and to temporary cessation of the release of the incarcerated spinal cord in the other. Changes occurred selectively in MEPs and were reversible. In both patients, transient changes in intraoperative MEPs correlated with a reversible postoperative motor deficit. Patients without significant changes in somatosensory evoked potentials and MEPs demonstrated no additional neurological deficit postoperatively and showed improvement of motor function during follow-up.

Conclusions

Surgical repair of the dural defect is effected by release and reduction of the spinal cord and insertion of dural substitute over the dural defect. Careful monitoring of the functional integrity of spinal cord long tracts during surgical manipulation of the cord can detect surgically induced impairment. The authors' documentation of acute loss of MEPs that correlated with reversible postoperative motor deficit substantiates the necessity of IOM including continuous monitoring of MEPs for the surgical treatment of TISCH.

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Walter F. Saringer, Brian Reddy, Iris Nöbauer-Huhmann, Rene Regatschnig, Marion Reddy, Manfred Tschabitscher and Engelbert Knosp

Object. Cervical radiculopathy is typically caused by posterolateral disc herniation or spondylotic foraminal stenosis, either of which may compress the ventral aspect of the nerve root. The authors undertook a study to establish the feasibility of performing an endoscopic approach for anterior cervical foraminotomy (ACFor) in a clinical setting.

Methods. Application of this method on cadavers was conducted to verify the practicability of this technique. The clinical study included 16 patients (eight men and eight women; mean age 46.6 years) all presenting with unilateral radicular symptoms (one at two adjacent ipsilateral levels), which were associated with various degrees of neck pain. Disc herniations and/or uncovertebral osteophytes were confirmed on magnetic resonance imaging and high-resolution computerized tomography scanning. A total of 17 endoscopic ACFors (one two-level procedure) were performed using a rigid glass endoscope (25° angled, 3-mm diameter, 10-mm length) mounted on a tubular retractor.

No major surgery-related complications were encountered. During a mean follow-up period of 13.8 months an average absolute improvement of 44% (p > 0.05) in the neck disability index score and of 96% (p > 0.05) in the visual analog scale score for radicular pain (compared with the preoperative score) was observed. During the follow-up period strength improved to normal in 84% and sensory deficit in 80% of the patients. The overall subjective patient satisfaction rate was 87.6%; the return-to-work rate after 4 weeks was 81.4%.

Conclusions. The advantages of endoscopic ACFor include minimial surgical exposure, improved intraoperative visualization, direct decompression of the nerve root, and the preservation of the intervertebral disc and the motion segment.

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Brigitte Gatterbauer, Sinan Gevsek, Romana Höftberger, Carola Lütgendorf-Caucig, Adolf Ertl, Ammar Mallouhi, Klaus Kitz, Engelbert Knosp and Josa M. Frischer

OBJECTIVE

Treatment of parasagittal meningiomas is still considered a challenge in modern microsurgery. The use of microsurgical resection, radiosurgery, or a microsurgery-radiosurgery combination treatment strategy is often debated. The aim of this study was to evaluate the treatment of parasagittal meningioma and provide evidence that a multimodal approach reduces complication rates and achieves good tumor control rates.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed long-term follow-up data on 117 patients who had been treated for parasagittal meningiomas at their institution between 1993 and 2013. Treatment included microsurgery, Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS), and radiotherapy.

RESULTS

The median tumor volume prior to the first microsurgical resection was largest in the microsurgery-radiosurgery combination treatment group. Invasion of the superior sagittal sinus was significantly associated with a Simpson Grade IV resection and subsequent radiosurgery treatment. The Simpson resection grade did not influence time to progression or recurrence in benign meningioma cases. Complete sinus occlusion was followed by microsurgical resection of the occluded sinus, by tumor resection without resection of the sinus, or by GKRS. Histopathology revealed WHO Grade I tumors in most patients. However, a high percentage (33%) of atypical or malignant meningiomas were diagnosed after the last microsurgical resection. The time to recurrence or progression after microsurgery was significantly longer in patients with WHO Grade I meningiomas than in those with Grade II or III meningiomas. At follow-up, tumor control rates after GKRS were 91% for presumed meningioma, 85% for benign meningioma, 71% for atypical meningioma, and 38% for malignant meningioma.

CONCLUSIONS

A multimodal treatment approach to parasagittal meningiomas reduces the rate of complications. Thus, microsurgery, radiotherapy, and radiosurgery are complementary treatment options. Gamma Knife radiosurgery is safe and effective in patients with meningiomas invading the superior sagittal sinus. The procedure can be part of a multimodal treatment plan or administered as a single treatment in well-selected patients.