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Francisco Vaz Guimarães Filho, Giselle Coelho, Sergio Cavalheiro, Marcos Lyra and Samuel T. Zymberg

Object

Ideal surgical training models should be entirely reliable, atoxic, easy to handle, and, if possible, low cost. All available models have their advantages and disadvantages. The choice of one or another will depend on the type of surgery to be performed. The authors created an anatomical model called the S.I.M.O.N.T. (Sinus Model Oto-Rhino Neuro Trainer) Neurosurgical Endotrainer, which can provide reliable neuroendoscopic training. The aim in the present study was to assess both the quality of the model and the development of surgical skills by trainees.

Methods

The S.I.M.O.N.T. is built of a synthetic thermoretractable, thermosensible rubber called Neoderma, which, combined with different polymers, produces more than 30 different formulas. Quality assessment of the model was based on qualitative and quantitative data obtained from training sessions with 9 experienced and 13 inexperienced neurosurgeons. The techniques used for evaluation were face validation, retest and interrater reliability, and construct validation.

Results

The experts considered the S.I.M.O.N.T. capable of reproducing surgical situations as if they were real and presenting great similarity with the human brain. Surgical results of serial training showed that the model could be considered precise. Finally, development and improvement in surgical skills by the trainees were observed and considered relevant to further training. It was also observed that the probability of any single error was dramatically decreased after each training session, with a mean reduction of 41.65% (range 38.7%–45.6%).

Conclusions

Neuroendoscopic training has some specific requirements. A unique set of instruments is required, as is a model that can resemble real-life situations. The S.I.M.O.N.T. is a new alternative model specially designed for this purpose. Validation techniques followed by precision assessments attested to the model's feasibility.

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Maria Koutourousiou, Francisco Vaz Guimaraes Filho, Tina Costacou, Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Eric W. Wang, Carl H. Snyderman, William E. Rothfus and Paul A. Gardner

Object

Transclival endoscopic endonasal surgery (EES) has recently been used for the treatment of posterior fossa tumors. The optimal method of reconstruction of large clival defects following EES has not been established.

Methods

A morphometric analysis of the posterior fossa was performed in patients who underwent transclival EES to compare those with observed postoperative anatomical changes (study group) to 50 normal individuals (anatomical control group) and 41 matched transclival cases with preserved posterior fossa anatomy (case-control group) using the same parameters. Given the absence of clival bone following transclival EES, the authors used the line between the anterior commissure and the basion as an equivalent to the clival plane to evaluate the location of the pons. Four parameters were studied and compared in the two populations: the pontine location/displacement, the maximum anteroposterior (AP) diameter of the pons, the maximum AP diameter of the fourth ventricle, and the cervicomedullary angle (CMA). All measurements were performed on midsagittal 3-month postoperative MR images in the study group.

Results

Among 103 posterior fossa tumors treated with transclival EES, 14 cases (13.6%) with postoperative posterior fossa anatomy changes were identified. The most significant change was anterior displacement of the pons (transclival pontine encephalocele) compared with the normal location in the anatomical control group (p < 0.0001). Other significant deformities were expansion of the AP diameter of the pons (p = 0.005), enlargement of the fourth ventricle (p = 0.001), and decrease in the CMA (p < 0.0001). All patients who developed these changes had undergone extensive resection of the clival bone (> 50% of the clivus) and dura. Nine (64.3%) of the 14 patients were overweight (body mass index [BMI] > 25 kg/m2). An association between BMI and the degree of pontine encephalocele was observed, but did not reach statistical significance. The use of a fat graft as part of the reconstruction technique following transclival EES with dural opening was the single significant factor that prevented pontine displacement (p = 0.02), associated with 91% lower odds of pontine encephalocele (OR = 0.09, 95% CI 0.01–0.77). The effect of fat graft reconstruction was more pronounced in overweight/obese individuals (p = 0.04) than in normal-weight patients (p = 0.52). Besides reconstruction technique, other noticeable findings were the tendency of younger adults to develop pontine encephalocele (p = 0.05) and the association of postoperative meningitis with the development of posterior fossa deformities (p = 0.05). One patient developed a transient, recurrent subjective diplopia; all others remained asymptomatic.

Conclusions

Significant changes in posterior fossa anatomy that have potential clinical implications have been observed following transclival transdural EES. These changes are more common in younger patients or those with meningitis and may be associated with BMI. The use of a fat graft combined with the vascularized nasoseptal flap appears to minimize the risk of pontine herniation following transclival EES with dural opening.

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Francisco Vaz-Guimaraes, Maria Koutourousiou, John R. de Almeida, Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara, Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Eric W. Wang, Carl H. Snyderman and Paul A. Gardner

OBJECTIVE

Epidermoid and dermoid cysts may be found along the cranial base and are commonly resected via open transcranial approaches. The use of endoscopic endonasal approaches for resection of these tumors has been rarely reported.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 21 patients who underwent endoscopic endonasal surgery for epidermoid and dermoid cyst resection at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center between January 2005 and June 2014. Surgical outcomes and variables that might affect the extent of resection and complications were analyzed.

RESULTS

Total resection (total removal of cyst contents and capsule) was achieved in 8 patients (38.1%), near-total resection (total removal of cyst contents, incomplete removal of cyst capsule) in 9 patients (42.9%), and subtotal resection (incomplete removal of cyst contents and capsule) in 4 patients (19%). Larger cyst volume (≥ 3 cm3) and intradural location (15 cysts) were significantly associated with nontotal resection (p = 0.008 and 0.0005, respectively). In the whole series, surgical complications were seen in 6 patients (28.6%). No complications were observed in patients with extradural cysts. Among the 15 patients with intradural cysts, the most common surgical complication was postoperative CSF leak (5 patients, 33.3%), followed by postoperative intracranial infection (4 patients, 26.7%). Larger cysts and postoperative CSF leak were associated with intracranial infection (p = 0.012 and 0.028, respectively). Subtotal resection was marginally associated with intracranial infection when compared with total resection (p = 0.091). All patients with neurological symptoms improved postoperatively with the exception of 1 patient with unchanged abducens nerve palsy.

CONCLUSIONS

Endoscopic endonasal approaches may be effectively used for resection of epidermoid and dermoid cysts in carefully selected cases. These approaches are recommended for cases in which a total or near-total resection is possible in addition to a multilayer cranial base reconstruction with vascularized tissue to minimize the risk of intracranial infection.

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Kathryn Wagner, Francisco Vaz-Guimaraes, Kevin Camstra and Sandi Lam

OBJECTIVE

Appropriately chosen candidates with medically refractory epilepsy may benefit from hemispheric disconnection. Traditionally, this involves a large surgical exposure with significant associated morbidity. Minimally invasive approaches using endoscopic assistance have been described by only a few centers. Here, the authors report on the feasibility of endoscope-assisted functional hemispherotomy in a cadaver model and its first translation into clinical practice in appropriately selected patients.

METHODS

Three silicone-injected, formalin-fixed cadaver heads were used to establish the steps of the procedure in the laboratory. The steps of disconnection were performed using standard surgical instruments and a straight endoscope. The technique was then applied in two patients who had been referred for hemispherectomy and had favorable anatomy for an endoscope-assisted approach.

RESULTS

All disconnections were performed in the cadaver model via a 4 × 2–cm paramedian keyhole craniotomy using endoscopic assistance. An additional temporal burr hole approach was marked in case the authors were unable to completely visualize the frontobasal and insular cuts from the paramedian vertical view. Their protocol was subsequently used successfully in two pediatric patients. Full disconnection was verified with postoperative tractography.

CONCLUSIONS

Full hemispheric disconnection can be accomplished with minimally invasive endoscope-assisted functional hemispherotomy. The procedure is technically feasible and can be safely applied in patients with favorable anatomy and pathology; it may lead to less surgical morbidity and faster recovery.