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Ziad A. Hage and Fady T. Charbel

We showcase the microsurgical clipping of a previously coiled and ruptured anterior communicating artery aneurysm, done through a right-sided approach. Initial clipping with a fenestrated clip occluded the flow in the right A2. After temporary clipping of both A1 and A2 vessels, we cut the right A1 and A2, clipped the aneurysm with a straight clip while preserving the flow in the left A1 and A2 and then performed reanastomosis of the right A1-A2 in an end to end fashion. This strategy allowed for complete obliteration of the aneurysm while preserving the flow in all four vessels.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/4Y024zU5NVo.

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Ziad A. Hage and Fady T. Charbel

We showcase the microsurgical clipping of a left middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysm-(B) done through a modified right lateral supraorbital craniotomy, as well as clipping of a previously coiled anterior communicating (ACOM) artery aneurysm-(C) and a bilobed right MCA aneurysm-(A). Splitting of the right sylvian fissure is initially performed following which a subfrontal approach is used to expose and dissect the contralateral sylvian fissure. The left MCA aneurysm is identified and clipped. The ACOM aneurysm is then clipped following multiple clip repositioning based on flow measurements. The right MCA aneurysm is then identified and each lobe is clipped separately.

The first picture showcased in this video is a side to side right and left ICA injection in AP projection. In this picture, (A) points to the bilobed right MCA aneurysm, (B) to the left middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysm, and (C) to the previously coiled anterior communicating (ACOM) artery aneurysm. The red dotted line shows that both MCA aneurysms lie within the same plane which makes it easier to clip both of them, through one small craniotomy.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/4cQC7nHsL5I.

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Fady T. Charbel, Gabriel Gonzales-Portillo, William E. Hoffman, Lauren A. Ostergren and Mukesh Misra

✓ Quantitative measurement of blood flow in cerebral vessels during aneurysm surgery can help prevent ischemic injury and improve patient outcome. The authors report a case of a superior cerebellar artery (SCA) aneurysm in which perivascular microflow probes were used to measure blood flow quantitatively in both the SCA and the posterior cerebral artery before and after aneurysm clipping. Following aneurysm clipping, blood flow in the SCA was reduced to less than 25% of its initial baseline value. Prompt detection of compromised blood flow gave the surgeon the opportunity to adjust the clip and restore SCA flow to its preclipping value within 5 minutes of initial clip placement. Quantitative vessel-flow measurements were integral to the safe progression of the operation and may have prevented an adverse neurological outcome in this patient. The recommended surgical technique and the principle of operation are described.

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David H. Jho, Sergey Neckrysh, Julian Hardman, Fady T. Charbel and Sepideh Amin-Hanjani

✓ The authors evaluated the effectiveness of a simple technique using ethylene oxide (EtO) gas sterilization and room temperature storage of autologous bone grafts for reconstructive cranioplasty following decompressive craniectomy. The authors retrospectively analyzed data in 103 consecutive patients who underwent cranioplasty following decompressive craniectomy for any cause at the University of Illinois at Chicago between 1999 and 2005. Patients with a pre-existing intracranial infection prior to craniectomy or lost to follow-up before reconstruction were excluded. Autologous bone grafts were cleansed of soft tissue, hermetically sealed in sterilization pouches for EtO gas sterilization, and stored at room temperature until reconstructive cranioplasty was performed.

Cranioplasties were performed an average of 4 months after decompressive craniectomy, and the follow-up after reconstruction averaged 14 months. Excellent aesthetic and functional results after single-stage reconstruction were achieved in 95 patients (92.2%) as confirmed on computed tomography. An infection of the bone flap occurred in eight patients (7.8%), and the skull defects were eventually reconstructed using polymethylmethacrylate with satisfactory results. The mean preservation interval was 3.8 months in patients with uninfected flaps and 6.4 months in those with infected flaps (p = 0.02). A preservation time beyond 10 months was associated with a significantly increased risk of flap infection postcranioplasty (odds ratio [OR] 10.8, p = 0.02). Additionally, patients who had undergone multiple craniotomies demonstrated a trend toward increased infection rates (OR 3.0, p = 0.13).

Data in this analysis support the effectiveness of this method, which can be performed at any institution that provides EtO gas sterilization services. The findings also suggest that bone flaps preserved beyond 10 months using this technique should be discarded or resterilized prior to reconstruction.

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P. Pat Banerjee, Cristian J. Luciano, G. Michael Lemole Jr., Fady T. Charbel and Michael Y. Oh

Object

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of ventriculostomy catheter placement on a head- and hand-tracked high-resolution and high-performance virtual reality and haptic technology workstation.

Methods

Seventy-eight fellows and residents performed simulated ventriculostomy catheter placement on an ImmersiveTouch system. The virtual catheter was placed into a virtual patient's head derived from a computed tomography data set. Participants were allowed one attempt each. The distance from the tip of the catheter to the Monro foramen was measured.

Results

The mean distance (± standard deviation) from the final position of the catheter tip to the Monro foramen was 16.09 mm (± 7.85 mm).

Conclusions

The accuracy of virtual ventriculostomy catheter placement achieved by participants using the simulator is comparable to the accuracy reported in a recent retrospective evaluation of free-hand ventriculostomy placements in which the mean distance from the catheter tip to the Monro foramen was 16 mm (± 9.6 mm).

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Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, John H. Shin, Meide Zhao, Xinjian Du and Fady T. Charbel

Object

To date, angiography has been the primary modality for assessing graft patency following extracranial–intracranial bypass. The utility of a noninvasive and quantitative method of assessing bypass function postoperatively was evaluated using quantitative magnetic resonance (MR) angiography.

Methods

One hundred one cases of bypass surgery performed over a 5.5-year period at a single institution were reviewed. In 62 cases, both angiographic and quantitative MR angiographic data were available. Intraoperative flow measurements were available in 13 cases in which quantitative MR angiography was performed during the early postoperative period (within 48 hours after surgery).

There was excellent correlation between quantitative MR angiographic flow and angiographic findings over the mean 10 months of imaging follow up. Occluded bypasses were consistently absent on quantitative MR angiograms (four cases). The flow rates were significantly lower in those bypasses that became stenotic or reduced in diameter as demonstrated by follow-up angiography (nine cases) than in those bypasses that remained fully patent (mean ± standard error of the mean, 37 ± 13 ml/minute compared with 105 ± 7 ml/minute, p = 0.001). Flows were appreciably lower in poorly functioning bypasses for both vein and in situ arterial grafts. All angiographically poor bypasses (nine cases) were identifiable by absolute flows of less than 20 ml/minute or a reduction in flow greater than 30% within 3 months. Good correlation was seen between intraoperative flow measurements and early postoperative quantitative MR angiographic flow measurements (13 cases, Pearson correlation coefficient = 0.70, p = 0.02).

Conclusions

Bypass grafts can be assessed in a noninvasive fashion by using quantitative MR angiography. This imaging modality provides not only information regarding patency as shown by conventional angiography, but also a quantitative assessment of bypass function. In this study, a low or rapidly decreasing flow was indicative of a shrunken or stenotic graft. Quantitative MR angiography may provide an alternative to standard angiography for serial follow up of bypass grafts.

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Ziad A. Hage, Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, Dennis Wen and Fady T. Charbel

In this article, the authors describe the case of a 27-year-old female presenting with a 2-year history of neck pain and radiculopathy attributable to compression of the right C-7 nerve root by tortuosity of the vertebral artery at the level of the C6–7 cervical foramina. An anterolateral approach to the transverse foramen was used to perform a vascular decompression to decompress the nerve root. The procedure was uneventful, and the patient woke up with almost all of her symptoms resolved. The authors also include a literature review of techniques performed in this setting, showing that multiple surgical approaches can be used and should be tailored to the patient symptoms and lesion characteristics.

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Ali Alaraj, Troy Munson, Sebastian R. Herrera, Victor Aletich, Fady T. Charbel and Sepideh Amin-Hanjani

Object

Cerebrospinal fluid hypotension, or “brain sag,” is a recently described phenomenon most commonly seen following craniotomy for the clipping of ruptured aneurysms along with preoperative lumbar drain placement. The clinical features and CT findings have been previously described. Clinical presentation can be similar to and often mistaken for cerebral vasospasm. In this study, the authors report on the angiographic findings in patients with brain sag.

Methods

Five cases of brain sag were diagnosed (range 1–4 days) after the surgical treatment of ruptured aneurysms at the University of Illinois at Chicago. All patients met the clinical and CT criteria for brain sag. Admission cerebral angiograms and subsequent angiograms during symptoms of brain sag were obtained in all patients. In 3 patients, angiography was performed after the resolution of symptoms.

Results

In all 5 patients, the level of the basilar artery apex was displaced inferiorly with respect to the posterior clinoid processes during brain sag. This displacement was significant enough to create a noticeable kink in the basilar artery (“cobra sign”) in 3 patients. Other angiographic findings included foreshortening or kinking of the intracranial vertebral artery. In all patients, the posterior cerebral arteries were displaced medially and inferiorly. Three patients were treated for simultaneous severe radiological vasospasm. In 4 patients, the brain sag was recognized, and the patients' conditions improved when they were placed flat or in the Trendelenburg position, at times combined with an epidural blood patch. Patients with follow-up angiography studies after the symptoms had resolved displayed a reversal of the angiographic features.

Conclusions

Brain sag appears to be associated with characteristic angiographic features. Recognizing these features may help to diagnose brain sag as the cause of neurological deterioration in this patient population.

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William W. Ashley Jr., Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, Ali Alaraj, John H. Shin and Fady T. Charbel

✓Extracranial–intracranial bypass surgery has advanced from a mere technical feat to a procedure requiring careful patient selection and a justifiable decision-making paradigm. Currently available technologies for flow measurement in the perioperative and intraoperative setting allow a more structured and analytical approach to decision making. The purpose of this report is to review the use of flow measurement in cerebral revascularization, presenting algorithms for flow-assisted surgical planning, technique, and surveillance.

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Ali Alaraj, William W. Ashley Jr., Fady T. Charbel and Sepideh Amin-Hanjani

Object

The superficial temporal artery (STA) is the mainstay of donor vessels for extracranial–intracranial bypass in cerebral revascularization. However, the typically used STA anterior or posterior branch is not always adequate in its flow-carrying capacity. In this report the authors describe the use of the STA trunk at the level of the zygoma as an alternative donor and highlight the benefits and pitfalls of this revascularization option.

Methods

The authors reviewed the cases of 4 patients in whom the STA trunk was used as a donor site for anastomosis of a short interposition vein graft. The graft was implanted into the middle cerebral artery to trap a cartoid aneurysm in 2 patients, and the posterior cerebral artery for vertebrobasilar insufficiency in the other 2. Discrepancies in size between the interposition vein and STA trunk were compensated for by a beveled end-to-end anastomosis or by implanting the STA trunk into the vein graft in an end-to-side fashion.

Results

Intraoperative flow measurements confirmed the significantly higher flow-carrying capacity of the STA trunk (54–100 ml/minute) compared with its branches (10–28 ml/minute). The STA trunk interposition graft has several advantages compared with an interposition graft to the cervical carotid, including a shorter graft and no need for a neck incision. However, in the setting of ruptured aneurysm trapping, with the risk of subsequent vasospasm, it is a poor conduit for endovascular therapies.

Conclusions

The STA trunk is a valuable donor option for cerebral revascularization, but should be avoided in the setting of subarachnoid hemorrhage.