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Paola Peretta, Paola Ragazzi, Marcelo Galarza, Lorenzo Genitori, Flavio Giordano, Federico Mussa, and Giuseppe Cinalli

Object

Neuroendoscopic surgery is being used as an alternative to traditional shunt surgery and craniotomy in the management of hydrocephalus and intracranial fluid-filled cavities. In this study, the authors evaluated the incidence and type of complications occurring after neuroendoscopic procedures that were performed in a consecutive series of pediatric patients at a single institution to determine the effectiveness of neuroendoscopy in such patients.

Methods

Four hundred ninety-five neuroendoscopic procedures were consecutively performed in 450 pediatric patients at one institution over a 10-year period. Charts were retrospectively reviewed. A complication was defined as follows: 1) any postoperative neurological deficit that was not observed before surgery; 2) any event occurring during surgery that resulted in the procedure being aborted; or 3) any adverse event occurring within 7 days postsurgery that resulted in a modification of the normal postoperative care. However, headache, vomiting, and fever without cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pleocytosis were not considered complications.

Complications were observed in 40 (8.1%) of 495 procedures. Two patients had two complications. One patient died of diffuse brain edema following endoscopic biopsy sampling of a basal ganglia tumor (mortality rate 0.2%). Other complications observed were abandonment of the procedure in eight cases, CSF leakage in 11 (with associated wound infection in one), intraventricular hemorrhage in six (with external drainage needed in four), intraparenchymal hemorrhage in three, subdural collection in eight (with subdural–peritoneal shunt placement needed in seven), transient oculomotor palsy in two, and transient hemiparesis in one.

Conclusions

Many complications can be avoided by determining the correct diagnosis and using suitable techniques and instruments. Most complications can be managed conservatively and do not produce long-term morbidity. Complex procedures in most patients and simple procedures in patients with preoperative risk factors carry the highest hazard. Every attempt should be made to optimize the surgical technique. The most serious and potentially the most lethal complication remains arterial bleeding from injury to the basilar artery complex.

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Leonardo Renieri, Nicola Limbucci, Arturo Consoli, Andrea Rosi, Sergio Nappini, Flavio Giordano, Lorenzo Genitori, and Salvatore Mangiafico

The treatment of brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) in children has always been a challenge for interventionalists, neurosurgeons, and radiosurgeons. Endovascular embolization is usually performed through transarterial access, but in selected cases the transvenous approach can be considered. The authors of this report aimed to evaluate the efficacy of transvenous embolization in very selected pediatric cases. They describe 4 children treated using transvenous embolization for AVMs that were small, had a single drainage vein, and were deeply located or had a difficult arterial access. The 6-month angiographic and clinical follow-ups are reported as well. In all cases, complete occlusion of the AVM was achieved with no side effects for the patient. Transvenous embolization may represent a promising alternative therapeutic option in very selected cases.

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Alice Noris, Paolo Roncon, Simone Peraio, Anna Zicca, Matteo Lenge, Andrea Di Rita, Lorenzo Genitori, and Flavio Giordano

BACKGROUND

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) represents a valid therapeutic option for patients with medically intractable seizures who are not candidates for epilepsy surgery. Even when complete section of the nerve occurs, stimulation applied cranially to the involved nerve segment does not preclude the efficacy of VNS. Complete vagus nerve section with neuroma causing definitive left vocal cord palsy has never been previously reported in the literature.

OBSERVATIONS

Eight years after VNS implant, the patient experienced worsening of seizures; the interrogation of the generator revealed high impedance requiring surgical revision. On surgical exploration, complete left vagus nerve section and a neuroma were found. Vocal cord atrophy was found at immediate postoperative laryngeal inspection as a confirmation of a longstanding lesion. Both of these events might have been caused by direct nerve injury during VNS surgery, and they presented in a delayed fashion.

LESSONS

VNS surgery may be complicated by direct damage to the left vagus nerve, resulting in permanent neurological deficits. A complete section of the nerve also enables an efficacious stimulation if applied cranially to the involved segment. Laryngeal examination should be routinely performed before each VNS surgery to rule out preexisting vocal cord dysfunction.

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Flavio Giordano, Giacomo Peri, Giacomo M. Bacci, Massimo Basile, Azzurra Guerra, Patrizia Bergonzini, Anna Maria Buccoliero, Barbara Spacca, Lorenzo Iughetti, PierArturo Donati, and Lorenzo Genitori

Interdural dermoid cysts (DCs) of the cavernous sinus (CS), located between the outer (dural) and inner layer (membranous) of the CS lateral wall, are rare lesions in children. The authors report on a 5-year-old boy with third cranial nerve palsy and exophthalmos who underwent gross-total removal of an interdural DC of the right CS via a frontotemporal approach. The patient had a good outcome and no recurrence at the 12-month follow-up. To the best of the authors' knowledge this is the second pediatric case of interdural DC described in the literature.