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Francesco Tomasello, Antonio Spadaro, Vincenzo Albanese, and Paolo Conforti

✓ A scanning electron microscopic (SEM) study was carried out to evaluate the endothelial changes in carotid end-to-side microsurgical anastomoses. This procedure, associated with occlusion of the brachiocephalic trunk, was performed in 24 Sprague-Dawley rats. The animals were sacrificed at time intervals ranging between 15 minutes and 14 days after surgery. The specimens were collected after perfusion-fixation in vivo and treated for SEM observations. The findings show that the first 45 minutes are the most critical time for thrombus formation. Reendothelialization could be detected at 3 days after the microsurgical procedure. Endothelial regeneration occurred earlier on the suture line than on the stitches, documented by the migration and morphological changes of the endothelial cells advancing from the normal endothelium to cover the defect and the suture material. The repair was usually completed within 14 days. Damage of the inner vascular wall, related to minor failures of the microsurgical technique, appears to be a cause of delayed reendothelialization.

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Francesco Tomasello, Vincenzo Albanese, Fausto Iannotti, and Giuseppe Di Iorio

✓ Hemangioblastomas are rarely seen in the supratentorial region, especially in childhood. The case of a 10-year-old boy with left parieto-occipital cystic hemangioblastoma is reported. The neoplasm was not attached to the dura, nor was it associated with von Hippel-Lindau syndrome or with erythrocythemia. Cerebral angiography showed no evidence of a vascularized tumor, whereas computerized tomography gave more accurate information. The gross and microscopic appearance of the lesion is described, and a review of similar cases previously reported in the literature is presented.

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Domenico d'Avella, Maria Giusa, Alfredo Blandino, Filippo Flavio Angileri, Giovanni La Rosa, and Francesco Tomasello

✓ Solitary focal eosinophilic granuloma (EG) is one element in the spectrum of diseases associated with Langerhans' cell histiocytosis (LCH). This report documents the occurrence of a primary isolated hypothalamic EG in a man who presented with diabetes insipidus and panhypopituitarism. His treatment consisted of complete microsurgical excision of the lesion. After a 13-month follow-up period, no residual tumor was evident on magnetic resonance imaging and no other lesions were present in peripheral tissues. This case is unique in several respects: 1) it is the third documented case of a primary isolated hypothalamic LCH granuloma diagnosed in a living patient; 2) it is the only known example of complete microsurgical excision of such a lesion in the hypothalamic region; and 3) it demonstrates the efficacy of direct surgery in this scenario, as compared with other treatment modalities such as biopsy and irradiation, suggesting that complete surgical excision may represent the treatment of choice for isolated intracerebral LCH granulomas, being curative in most instances. Also, the literature is reviewed for information about the diagnosis and treatment of this particular type of unifocal brain lesion.

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Antonino Germanò, Claudia Imperatore, Domenico d'Avella, Giovanni Costa, and Francesco Tomasello

Object. The radical scavenger (±)-N,N′-propylenedinicotinamide (AVS) was shown recently to ameliorate delayed neurological deficits resulting from ischemia in patients who have had an aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of AVS administration after experimental SAH on 1) behavioral deficits; 2) angiographically confirmed basilar artery (BA) spasm; and 3) blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability changes.

Methods. These parameters were measured by 1) using a battery of well-characterized chronic assessment tasks over a 5-day observation period; 2) assessing in vivo the mean vessel diameter 2 days after SAH; and 3) evaluating the extravasation of protein-bound Evans Blue dye by using a spectrophotofluorimetric technique 2 days after SAH. Groups of eight to 10 rats received injections of 400 µl of autologous blood into the cisterna magna. Within 5 minutes after the surgical procedures were completed the rats were treated with an intravenously administered continuous infusion of saline (Group III) or AVS (1 mg/kg/minutes, Group IV). Results were compared with those in sham-operated animals treated with intravenously administered saline (Group I) or AVS (Group II). The AVS-treated rats had significantly improved balance beam scores on Days 1 to 2 (p < 0.05), shorter beam traverse times on Day 1 (p < 0.05), and better beam walking performance on Days 1 to 4 (p < 0.01), but no significant effect was seen in terms of SAH-related changes in body weight. Treatment with AVS also attenuated the SAH-induced BA spasm (p < 0.05) and decreased BBB permeability changes in frontal, temporal, parietal, occipital, and cerebellar cortices, and in the subcortical and cerebellar gray matter and brainstem (p < 0.01).

Conclusions. These results demonstrate useful antivasospastic and brain-protective actions of AVS after induction of experimental SAH and provide support for observations of beneficial effects of AVS made in the clinical setting.

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Francesco Tomasello, Alfredo Conti, Salvatore Cardali, and Filippo Flavio Angileri


Surgical treatment of parasagittal meningiomas is challenging. Preserving the venous outflow is the key point, but this may preclude radical resection. Different surgical strategies have been proposed. To contribute to the debate on the optimal strategy for treating these tumors, a single-institutional, single-surgeon series of patients with parasagittal meningiomas was analyzed and the available literature reviewed.


Clinical charts of patients with parasagittal meningioma, managed at the University of Messina between 1988 and 2008, were retrospectively reviewed. A microsurgical resection, the goal of which was to preserve the venous outflow, was performed. Only if the superior sagittal sinus (SSS) was angiographically occluded, but if alternative venous outflow was clearly recognized, was the tumor resected, together with the sinus without further flow restoration. A MEDLINE review of the literature published between 1955 and 2011 was performed.


Long-term follow-up (mean 80 months) data obtained in 67 patients with meningiomas involving the SSS were analyzed. The recurrence rate was 10.4%; the morbidity and mortality rates were 10.4% and 4.5%, respectively. The authors identified in the literature 19 relevant studies on this issue, and based on their review of the literature, there is no evidence that aggressive management offers an advantage in terms of recurrence rate.


Analysis of the data obtained in the 67 patients confirmed good outcome and long-term tumor control following a surgical strategy aimed to preserve venous outflow. These findings and the results of the authors' analysis of the literature emphasize that the goal of radical tumor resection should be balanced by an awareness of the increased surgical risk attendant on aggressive management of the SSS and bridging veins.

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Roberto C. Heros

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Domenico Gerardo Iacopino, Maria Giusa, Alfredo Conti, Salvatore Cardali, and Francesco Tomasello

The authors describe a case of spinal arteriovenous fistula (AVF) treated by a microvauscular Doppler–assisted surgical interruption of the arterialized vein. Microvascular Doppler monitoring represents a valid, widely available, non-invasive tool that enables identification, through flow spectrum analysis, of components of this type of vascular malformation. In this case because the location of the fistula was identified prior to opening the dura only minimally invasive surgery was required. Direct recordings of the arterialized draining vein and the nidus of the fistula demonstrated a pathological spectrum caused by the arterial supply and the disturbed venous outflow in which a high-resistance flow pattern and low diastolic flow resembling an arterial-like flow velocity were observed. The fistula was obliterated by interruption of the draining vein, and Doppler measurements provided information on flow velocity changes in the medullary veins from an arterial to a venous pattern. The absence of any residual flow in the AVF confirmed successful hemodynamic treatment.

Intraoperative microvascular Doppler recording during surgical closure of spinal AVF is a widely available and reliable monitoring modality that helps to produce excellent clinical results.

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Vincenzo Albanese, Antonio Spadaro, Fausto Iannotti, Piero Picozzi, Francesco Tomasello, and Fernando Antonio Cioffi

✓ The authors describe a patient in whom a segment of the internal carotid artery (ICA) was coiled. The segment was excised and examined by light microscopy, and transmission and scanning electron microscopy. The elastic tissue in the tunica media of the coiled portion of the artery was absent or greatly reduced and showed no laminar structure. The elastic tissue dysplasia supports the congenital origin of coiling of the ICA.