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Giulio Maira, Luca Denaro, Francesco Doglietto, Annunziato Mangiola and Cesare Colosimo

✓ Idiopathic spinal cord herniation (ISCH) is a rare, although increasingly recognized, cause of myelopathy. It is the result of an anterior dural defect in the thoracic spine through which the spinal cord herniates. Surgical restoration of the herniated cord to its normal position is usually followed by significant improvement in patients' clinical status. Differing surgical techniques have been used to manage the dural defect.

In this report the authors discuss the cases of five patients (four women and one man) with ISCH treated during a 13-year period. Clinical and imaging findings in each patient are reported. Two different surgical techniques were used to treat this condition: dural defect enlargement in two cases and dural patch secured with stitches in three. The intra-and postoperative findings are discussed in relation to the two surgical techniques.

Based on the results and complications in these five cases, the authors now believe that ISCH should be treated, when feasible, by using a dural patch to close the dural defect at the site of the herniation.

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Francesco Doglietto, Daniel M. Prevedello, John A. Jane Jr., Joseph Han and Edward R. Laws Jr.

Since its inception, one of the major issues in transsphenoidal surgery has been the adequate visualization of anatomical structures. As transsphenoidal surgery evolved, technical advancements improved the surgical view of the operative field and the orientation. The operating microscope replaced Cushing's headlight and Dott's lighted speculum retractor, and fluoroscopy provided intraoperative imaging. These advances led to the modern concept of micro-surgical transsphenoidal procedures in the early 1970s.

For the past 30 years the endoscope has been used for the treatment of diseases of the sinus and, more recently, in the surgical treatment of pituitary tumors. The collaboration between neurological and otorhinolaryngological surgeons has led to the development of novel surgical procedures for the treatment of various pathological conditions in the skull base.

In this paper the authors review the history of the endoscope—its technical development and its application—from the first endoscope described by Philipp Bozzini to the First World Congress of Endoscopic Skull Base Surgery held in 2005 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Specifically, in this review the history of endoscopy and its application in endonasal neurosurgery are presented.

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Francesco Doglietto, Andrea Bolzoni Villaret, Roberto Stefini, Piero Nicolai, Marco Maria Fontanella, Giorgio Lofrese and Giulio Maira

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Nicola Montano, Quintino Giorgio D'Alessandris, Federico Bianchi, Liverana Lauretti, Francesco Doglietto, Eduardo Fernandez, Giulio Maira and Roberto Pallini

Object

Communicating hydrocephalus is an uncommon complication in patients treated for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Its pathogenesis remains unclear. The authors evaluated the clinical and radiological factors associated with the onset of communicating hydrocephalus and the impact of ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt surgery on the outcome of these patients.

Methods

One hundred twenty-four patients harboring GBM, who had undergone craniotomy for tumor resection and adjuvant radiochemotherapy, were retrospectively assessed. Seven of them developed communicating hydrocephalus and were treated with VP shunt surgery. Clinical and radiological estimates included Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) score, previous surgery, overall survival (OS), CSF pressure and components, tumor location, and leptomeningeal dissemination.

Results

All 7 patients who developed communicating hydrocephalus had undergone at least 2 craniotomies for tumor resection before the onset of hydrocephalus (p = 0.0006; Fisher exact test). Six cases showed high levels of CSF proteins. There was a highly significant relationship between ventricular opening at surgery for tumor recurrence and onset of hydrocephalus (p = 0.0002; Fisher exact test). In these patients, VP shunt surgery was followed by a significant improvement of KPS score (p = 0.0180; Wilcoxon signed-rank test). The median OS after VP shunt insertion was 5 ± 2.9 months.

Conclusions

Ventricular opening after radiochemotherapy and high CSF protein levels are significant predictors of communicating hydrocephalus in patients with GBM. The VP shunt surgery improves quality of life in these patients.

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Eduardo Fernandez, Francesco Doglietto, Alessandro Ciampini and Liverana Lauretti

The aim of this paper was to report on further experience with a new technique for reanimation of the facial nerve. This procedure allows a straight end-to-side hypoglossal–facial anastomosis without interruption of the 12th cranial nerve or the need for graft interposition. It is technically demanding and time consuming but offers an effective, reliable, and extraordinarily quick means of reinnervating the facial muscles, including the orbicularis oculi muscle, thus avoiding the need for a gold weight in the eyelid or a fascial sling.

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Daniel M. Prevedello, Francesco Doglietto, John A. Jane Jr., Jay Jagannathan, Joseph Han and Edward R. Laws Jr.

✓The history of the endoscope exemplifies the manner in which technological advances influence medicine and surgery. Endoscopic systems have evolved and improved, and they currently provide detailed visualization of a variety of deep organ structures. Otorhinolaryngological surgeons have used the endoscope for more than 30 years. In the 1990s, a number of influential neurosurgeons and otorhinolaryngological surgeons began performing purely endoscopic pituitary surgery. Endoscopic transsphenoidal operations are now extending beyond the sella. The collaboration between otorhinolaryngologists and neurosurgeons has produced a new subspecialty of “endoscopic skull base surgery.” There is a great deal of progress still to be made in developing skills, instruments, and improving skull base repair. The extended skull base approaches allow surgical exposures from the olfactory groove to C-2 and to the infratemporal region and jugular fossa laterally. This article discusses the history of the endoscope, the pivotal technological advances, and the key figures in the burgeoning field of endoneurosurgery.

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Francesco Doglietto, Enrico Marchese, Alfredo Puca, Valerio Gaetano Vellone, Barbora Tirpakova and Maurizio Sanguinetti

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Kathleen Joy Khu, Francesco Doglietto, Ivan Radovanovic, Faisal Taleb, Daniel Mendelsohn, Gelareh Zadeh and Mark Bernstein

Object

Routine and nonselective use of awake and outpatient craniotomy for supratentorial tumors has been shown to be safe and effective from a medical standpoint. In this study the authors aim was to explore patients' perceptions about awake and outpatient craniotomy.

Methods

Qualitative research methodology was used. Two semistructured, open-ended interviews were conducted with 27 participants, who were ambulatory adult patients who underwent craniotomy for brain tumor excision between October 2008 and April 2009. The participants were each assigned to one of the following categories: 1) awake outpatient; 2) awake inpatient; 3) outpatient under general anesthesia; and 4) inpatient under general anesthesia. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed, and the data were subjected to thematic analysis.

Results

The following 6 overarching themes emerged from the data: 1) patients had a positive experience with awake craniotomy; 2) patient satisfaction with outpatient surgery was high; 3) patients understood the rationale behind awake surgery; 4) patients were surprised that brain surgery can be done on an outpatient basis; 5) trust in one's surgeon was important; and 6) patients were more concerned about the disease than the procedure.

Conclusions

The results reflected positively on the patients' awake and outpatient surgery experience, but there were some areas that require improvement, specifically perioperative pain control and postoperative care. These insights on patients' perspectives can lead to better delivery of care, and ultimately, improved health outcomes.

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Nicola Montano, Francesco Doglietto, Alessandro Pedicelli, Alessio Albanese, Liverana Lauretti, Roberto Pallini, Libero Lauriola, Eduardo Fernandez and Giulio Maira

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Hugo Andrade-Barazarte, Krunal Patel, Mazda K. Turel, Francesco Doglietto, Anne Agur, Fred Gentili, Rachel Tymianski, Vitor Mendes Pereira, Michael Tymianski and Ivan Radovanovic

OBJECTIVE

The evolution of microsurgical and endoscopic techniques has allowed the development of less invasive transcranial approaches. The authors describe a purely endoscopic transpterional port craniotomy to access lesions involving the cavernous sinus and the anterolateral skull base.

METHODS

Through single- or dual-port incisions and with direct endoscopic visualization, the authors performed an endoscopic transpterional port approach (ETPA) using a 4-mm straight endoscope in 8 sides of 4 formalin-fixed cadaveric heads injected with colored latex. A main working port incision is made just below the superior temporal line and behind the hairline. An optional 0.5- to 1-cm second skin port incision is made on the lateral supraorbital region, allowing multiangle endoscopic visualization and maneuverability. A 1.5- to 2-cm craniotomy centered over the pterion is done through the main port, which allows an extradural exposure of the cavernous sinus region and extra/intradural exposure of the frontal and temporal cranial fossae. The authors present a pilot surgical series of 17 ETPA procedures and analyze the surgical indications and clinical outcomes retrospectively.

RESULTS

The initial stage of this work on cadavers provided familiarity with the technique, standardized its steps, and showed its anatomical limits. The clinical ETPA was applied to gain access into the cavernous sinus, as well as for aneurysm clipping and meningioma resection. Overall, perioperative complications occurred in 1 patient (6%), there was no mortality, and at last follow-up all patients had a modified Rankin Scale score of 0 or 1.

CONCLUSIONS

The ETPA provides a less invasive, focused, and direct route to the cavernous sinus, and to the frontal and temporal cranial fossae, and it is feasible in clinical practice for selected indications with good results.