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Francesco Acerbi, Ignazio G. Vetrano, Tommaso Sattin, Camilla de Laurentis, Lorenzo Bosio, Zefferino Rossini, Morgan Broggi, Marco Schiariti and Paolo Ferroli

OBJECTIVE

Indocyanine green videoangiography (ICG-VA) is an intraoperative technique used to highlight vessels in neurovascular surgery. Its application in the study of the vascular pathophysiology in CNS tumors and its role in their surgical management are still rather limited. A recent innovation of ICG-VA (i.e., the FLOW 800 algorithm integrated in the surgical microscope) allows a semiquantitative evaluation of cerebral blood flow. The aim of this study was to evaluate for the first time the systematic application of ICG-VA and FLOW 800 analysis during surgical removal of CNS tumors.

METHODS

Between May 2011 and December 2017, all cases in which ICG-VA and FLOW 800 analysis were used at least one time before, during, or after the tumor resection, and in which surgical videos were available, were retrospectively reviewed. Results of the histological analysis were analyzed together with the intraoperative ICG-VA with FLOW 800 in order to investigate the tumor-related videoangiographic features.

RESULTS

Seventy-one patients who underwent surgery for cerebral and spinal tumors were intraoperatively analyzed using ICG-VA with FLOW 800, either before or after tumor resection, for a total of 93 videoangiographic studies. The histological diagnosis was meningioma in 25 cases, glioma in 14, metastasis in 7, pineal region tumor in 5, hemangioblastoma in 4, chordoma in 3, and other histological types in 13 cases. The authors identified 4 possible applications of ICG-VA and FLOW 800 in CNS tumor surgery: extradural surveys allowed exploration of sinus patency and the course of veins before dural opening; preresection surveys helped in identifying pathological vascularization (arteriovenous fistulas and neo-angiogenesis) and regional venous outflow, and in performing temporary venous clipping tests, when necessary; postresection surveys were conducted to evaluate arterial and venous patency and parenchymal perfusion after tumor removal; and a premyelotomy survey was conducted in intramedullary tumors to highlight the posterior median sulcus.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found ICG-VA with FLOW 800 to be a useful method to monitor blood flow in the exposed vessels and parenchyma during microsurgical removal of CNS tumors in selected cases. In particular, a preresection survey provides useful information about pathophysiological changes of brain vasculature related to the tumor and aids in the individuation of helpful landmarks for the surgical approach, and the postresection survey helps to prevent potential complications associated with the resection (such as local hypoperfusion or venous infarction).

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Paolo Ferroli, Francesco Acerbi, Giovanni Tringali, Erminia Albanese, Morgan Broggi, Angelo Franzini and Giovanni Broggi

Object

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate whether venous indocyanine green (ICG) videoangiography has any potential for predicting the presence of a safe collateral circulation for veins that are at risk for intentional or unintentional damage during surgery.

Methods

The authors performed venous ICG videoangiography during 153 consecutive neurosurgical procedures. On those occasions in which a venous sacrifice occurred during surgery, whether that sacrifice was preplanned (intended) or unintended, venous ICG videoangiography was repeated so as to allow us to study the effect of venous sacrifice. A specific test to predict the presence of venous collateral circulation was also applied in 8 of these cases.

Results

Venous ICG videoangiography allowed for an intraoperative real-time flow assessment of the exposed veins with excellent image quality and resolution in all cases. The veins observed in this study were found to be extremely different with respect to flow dynamics and could be divided in 3 groups: 1) arterialized veins; 2) fast-draining veins with uniform filling and clear flow direction; and 3) slow-draining veins with nonuniform filling. Temporary clipping was found to be a simple and reversible way to test for the presence of potential anastomotic circulation.

Conclusions

Venous ICG videoangiography is able to reveal substantial variability in the venous flow dynamics. “Slow veins,” when they are tributaries of bridging veins, might hide a potential for anastomotic circulation that deserve further investigation.

Free access

Francesco Acerbi, Ignazio G. Vetrano, Tommaso Sattin, Jacopo Falco, Camilla de Laurentis, Costanza M. Zattra, Lorenzo Bosio, Zefferino Rossini, Morgan Broggi, Marco Schiariti and Paolo Ferroli

OBJECTIVE

The best management of veins encountered during the neurosurgical approach is still a matter of debate. Even if venous sacrifice were to lead to devastating consequences, under certain circumstances, it might prove to be desirable, enlarging the surgical field or increasing the extent of resection in tumor surgery. In this study, the authors present a large series of patients with vascular or oncological entities, in which they used indocyanine green videoangiography (ICG-VA) with FLOW 800 analysis to study the patient-specific venous flow characteristics and the management workflow in cases in which a venous sacrifice was necessary.

METHODS

Between May 2011 and December 2017, 1972 patients were admitted to the authors’ division for tumor and/or neurovascular surgery. They retrospectively reviewed all cases in which ICG-VA and FLOW 800 were used intraoperatively with a specific target in the venous angiographic phase or for the management of venous sacrifice, and whose surgical videos and FLOW 800 analysis were available.

RESULTS

A total of 296 ICG-VA and FLOW 800 studies were performed intraoperatively. In all cases, the venous structures were clearly identifiable and were described according to the flow direction and speed. The authors therefore defined different patterns of presentation: arterialized veins, thrombosed veins, fast-draining veins with anterograde flow, slow-draining veins with anterograde flow, and slow-draining veins with retrograde flow. In 16 cases we also performed a temporary clipping test to predict the effect of the venous sacrifice by the identification of potential collateral circulation.

CONCLUSIONS

ICG-VA and FLOW 800 analysis can provide complete and real-time intraoperative information regarding patient-specific venous drainage pattern and can guide the decision-making process regarding venous sacrifice, with a possible impact on reduction of surgical complications.

Free access

Paolo Ferroli, Dario Caldiroli, Francesco Acerbi, Maurizio Scholtze, Alfonso Piro, Marco Schiariti, Eleonora F. Orena, Melina Castiglione, Morgan Broggi, Alessandro Perin and Francesco DiMeco

Object

Incident reporting systems are universally recognized as important tools for quality improvement in all complex adaptive systems, including the operating room. Nevertheless, introducing a safety culture among neurosurgeons is a slow process, and few studies are available in the literature regarding the implementation of an incident reporting system within a neurosurgical department. The authors describe the institution of an aviation model of incident reporting and investigation in neurosurgery, focusing on the method they have used and presenting some preliminary results.

Methods

In 2010, the Inpatient Safety On-Board project was developed through cooperation between a team of human factor and safety specialists with aviation backgrounds (DgSky team) and the general manager of the Fondazione Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta. In 2011, after specific training in safety culture, the authors implemented an aviation-derived prototype of incident reporting within the Department of Neurosurgery. They then developed an experimental protocol to track, analyze, and categorize any near misses that happened in the operating room. This project officially started in January 2012, when a dedicated team of assessors was established. All members of the neurosurgical department were asked to report near misses on a voluntary, confidential, and protected form (Patient Incident Reporting System form, Besta Safety Management Programme). Reports were entered into an online database and analyzed by a dedicated team of assessors with the help of a facilitator, and an aviation-derived root cause analysis was performed.

Results

Since January 2012, 14 near misses were analyzed and classified. The near-miss contributing factors were mainly related to human factors (9 of 14 cases), technology (1 of 14 cases), organizational factors (3 of 14 cases), or procedural factors (1 of 14 cases).

Conclusions

Implementing an incident reporting system is quite demanding; the process should involve all of the people who work within the environment under study. Persistence and strong commitment are required to enact the culture change essential in shifting from a paradigm of infallible operators to the philosophy of errare humanum est. For this paradigm shift to be successful, contributions from aviation and human factor experts are critical.

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Ignazio G. Vetrano, Francesco Acerbi, Jacopo Falco, Grazia Devigili, Sara Rinaldo, Giuseppe Messina, Francesco Prada, Antonio D’Ammando and Vittoria Nazzi

OBJECTIVE

Benign peripheral nerve sheath tumors (PNSTs) include mainly schwannomas—the most common tumors arising from peripheral nerves—and neurofibromas. Due to their origin, distinguishing between functional intact nerve and the fibers from whence the PNST arose may not always be easy to perform. The introduction of intraoperative tools to better visualize these tumors could be helpful in achieving a gross-total resection. In this study, the authors present a series of patients harboring PNST in which the surgery was performed under fluorescein guidance.

METHODS

Between September 2018 and February 2019, 20 consecutive patients with a total of 25 suspected PNSTs underwent fluorescein-guided surgery performed under microscopic view with a dedicated filter integrated into the surgical microscope (YELLOW 560) and with intraoperative monitoring. All patients presented with a different degree of contrast enhancement at preoperative MRI. Fluorescein was intravenously injected after intubation at a dose of 1 mg/kg. Preoperative clinical and radiological data, intraoperative fluorescein characteristics, and postoperative neurological and radiological outcomes were collected and analyzed.

RESULTS

Six patients were affected by neurofibromatosis or schwannomatosis. There were 14 schwannomas, 8 neurofibromas, 1 myxoma, 1 reactive follicular hyperplasia, and 1 giant cell tumor of tendon sheath. No patient experienced worsening of neurological status after surgery. No side effects related to fluorescein injection were found in this series. Fluorescein allowed an optimal intraoperative distinction between tumor and surrounding nerves in 13 of 14 schwannomas and in all neurofibromas. In 6 neurofibromas and in 1 schwannoma, the final YELLOW 560 visualization showed the presence of small tumor remnants that were not visible under white-light illumination and that could be removed, obtaining a gross-total resection.

CONCLUSIONS

Fluorescein was demonstrated to be a feasible, safe, and helpful intraoperative adjunct to better identify and distinguish PNSTs from intact functional nerves, with a possible impact on tumor resection, particularly in diffuse neurofibromas.

Free access

Marco Schiariti, Francesco Restelli, Morgan Broggi, Francesco Acerbi, Ignazio Gaspare Vetrano, Andrea Ciuffi, Gabriella Raccuia and Paolo Ferroli

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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.

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Paolo Ferroli, Angelo Franzini, Morgan Broggi, Francesco Acerbi, Emanuela Maderna, Bianca Pollo and Giovanni Broggi

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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.