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Gautam U. Mehta and Edward H. Oldfield

Object

Cerebrospinal fluid leakage is a major complication of transsphenoidal surgery. An intraoperative CSF leak, which occurs in up to 50% of pituitary tumor cases, is the only modifiable risk factor for postoperative leaks. Although several techniques have been described for surgical repair when an intraoperative leak is noted, none has been proposed to prevent an intraoperative CSF leak. The authors postulated that intraoperative CSF drainage would diminish tension on the arachnoid, decrease the rate of intraoperative CSF leakage during surgery for larger tumors, and reduce the need for surgical repair of CSF leaks.

Methods

The results of 114 transsphenoidal operations for pituitary macroadenoma performed without intraoperative CSF drainage were compared with the findings from 44 cases in which a lumbar subarachnoid catheter was placed before surgery to drain CSF at the time of dural exposure and tumor removal.

Results

Cerebrospinal fluid drainage reduced the rate of intraoperative CSF leakage from 41% to 5% (p < 0.001). This reduction occurred in macroadenomas with (from 57% to 5%, p < 0.001) and those without suprasellar extension (from 29% to 0%, p = 0.31). The rate of postoperative CSF leakage was similar (5% vs 5%), despite the fact that intraoperative CSF drainage reduced the need for operative repair (from 32% to 5%, p < 0.001). There were no significant catheter-related complications.

Conclusions

Cerebrospinal fluid drainage during transsphenoidal surgery for macroadenomas reduces the rate of intraoperative CSF leaks. This preventative measure obviated the need for surgical repair of intraoperative CSF leaks using autologous fat graft placement, other operative techniques, postoperative lumbar drainage, and/or reoperation in most patients and is associated with minimal risks.

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Gautam U. Mehta and Gregory P. Lekovic

Although most widely known as the birthplace of neuro-otology, the House Clinic in Los Angeles has been the site of several major contributions to the field of neurosurgery. From the beginning of the formation of the Otologic Medical Group in 1958 (later renamed the House Ear Clinic), these contributions have been largely due to the innovative and collaborative work of neurosurgeon William E. Hitselberger, MD, and neuro-otologist William F. House, MD, DDS. Together they were responsible for the development and widespread adoption of the team approach to skull-base surgery. Specific neurosurgical advances accomplished at the House Clinic have included the first application of the operative microscope to neurosurgery, the application of middle fossa and translabyrinthine approaches for vestibular schwannoma, and the development of combined petrosal, retrolabyrinthine, and other alternative petrosal approaches and of hearing preservation surgery for vestibular schwannoma. The auditory brainstem implant, invented at the House Clinic in 1979, was the first ever successful application of central nervous system neuromodulation for restoration of function. Technological innovations at the House Clinic have also advanced neurosurgery. These include the first video transmission of microsurgery, the first suction irrigator, the first debulking instrument for tumors, and the House-Urban retractor for middle fossa surgery.

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Gautam U. Mehta, Russell R. Lonser and Edward H. Oldfield

Although he never performed a pituitary operation for the disease, Harvey Cushing was the first to describe and treat patients with Cushing disease (CD). Other surgeons at the time were reluctant to operate on the pituitary due to the normal sella on skull radiographs in CD and the unclear etiology of the disorder. To better define and understand factors influencing the history of pituitary surgery for CD, the authors analyzed historical texts related to CD biology, diagnosis, and treatment. Cushing's monograph on basophilic pituitary adenomas and cortisol excess appeared in 1932. One year later in 1933, Alfred Pattison performed the first successful pituitary operation for CD by implanting radon seeds in the sella. Resection of a pituitary adenoma for CD was attempted 1 month later in 1933 by Howard Naffziger, resulting in only transient improvement that corresponded to the lack of tumor in the resected tissue. Soon thereafter, Susman in 1935 and Costello in 1936 described pituitary basophilic adenomas at autopsy in patients without premorbid endocrinopathy. They concluded that the adrenal gland was the cause of CD, which resulted in a 3-decade abandonment of pituitary surgery for CD. Jules Hardy in 1963 used the operating microscope to perform the first selective removal of an adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)–secreting microadenoma, which established a pituitary cause and defined the modern treatment of CD. Subsequent reports by Hardy, Laws, and Wilson resulted in widespread acceptance of pituitary surgery for CD. Initial reluctance to operate on the pituitary for CD was multifaceted and included general uncertainty surrounding the etiology of Cushing syndrome as well as a lack of early surgical success, both due to the small size of ACTH-secreting adenomas. Selective removal of ACTH-secreting adenomas identified the source of CD and ended the delay in acceptance of pituitary surgery for CD.

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Gautam U. Mehta, Kamran D. Bakhtian and Edward H. Oldfield

Object

Primary empty sella syndrome (ESS) results from herniation of arachnoid mater into the pituitary fossa. It has been suggested to have a negative effect on pituitary surgery; however, outcomes in this cohort have not been defined. This study was performed to determine the effect of ESS on immediate and long-term biochemical outcome after pituitary surgery for Cushing's disease (CD).

Methods

Using a matched cohort study design, the authors followed patients treated with pituitary surgery for CD with and without ESS. Complete ESS was defined as pituitary gland height ≤ 2 mm, whereas partial ESS was defined as pituitary gland height > 2 mm but less than three-quarters of the total sellar depth. The primary end points were immediate and long-term biochemical outcome. Cerebrospinal fluid leaks were recorded as a secondary end point.

Results

Seventy-eight patients with CD and primary ESS were identified and matched with 78 patients with CD without ESS. After surgical management, immediate biochemical remission was achieved in 69 patients (88%) with ESS and 75 controls (96%, p = 0.10). Long-term remission was achieved in most patients in both groups (5-year cure: 85% vs 92%, p = 0.10). Among patients with ESS, the presence of complete ESS predicted a worse long-term outcome (p = 0.04). Intraoperative CSF leaks were significantly more frequent with ESS (54% vs 24%, p < 0.001), and despite sellar floor repair, the rate of postoperative CSF leaks was also increased (6% vs 3%, p = 0.27).

Conclusions

Biochemical outcome after pituitary surgery for CD was worse in patients with complete ESS, and the risk of a CSF leak was increased with both partial and complete ESS. However, as outcome remains superior to those following alternative therapies and the biology of these tumors is unchanged in the setting of ESS, pituitary surgery should remain the initial treatment of choice.

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Gautam U. Mehta, Jason P. Sheehan and Mary Lee Vance

Object

Nelson's syndrome (NS) is a significant and frequent risk for patients with Cushing's disease (CD) who undergo bilateral adrenalectomy. A recent study has shown tumor progression in 47% of patients at risk for NS. The authors sought to define the rate of NS in patients who were treated with Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery (GK SRS) prior to bilateral adrenalectomy.

Methods

Consecutive patients with CD who were treated with GK SRS after pituitary surgery but before bilateral adrenalectomy were included. Serial MRI sequences were analyzed to evaluate for pituitary tumor growth. Clinical evaluations were performed to screen for NS. Follow-up for adrenocorticotropic hormone levels and hormone studies of other pituitary axes was performed.

Results

Twenty consecutive patients were followed with neuroimaging and clinically for a median of 5.4 years (range 0.6–12 years). One patient (5%) developed pituitary tumor growth consistent with NS 9 months after adrenalectomy. By Kaplan-Meier analysis, progression-free survival was 94.7% at 1, 3, and 7 years. No predisposing factors were identified for the tumor progression. Two patients developed new pituitary dysfunction and no patient developed cranial neuropathy or visual deficit after GK SRS.

Conclusions

These findings suggest that GK SRS not only serves a role as second-line therapy for CD, but that it also provides prophylaxis for NS when used before bilateral adrenalectomy.

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Gautam U. Mehta, Michael J. Feldman, Herui Wang, Dale Ding and Prashant Chittiboina

The presence of vestibular schwannomas has long been considered an exclusion criterion for the diagnosis of schwannomatosis. Recently, 2 cases of vestibular schwannoma were reported in patients with schwannomatosis, leading to a revision of the diagnostic criteria for this genetic disorder. Overall, the relative infrequency of vestibular schwannomas in schwannomatosis is unexplained, and the genetics of this uncommon phenomenon have not been described. The authors report on a family with clinical manifestations consistent with schwannomatosis, including 4 affected members, that was identified as having an affected member harboring a unilateral cerebellopontine angle mass with extension into the internal auditory canal. Radiologically, this mass was consistent with a vestibular schwannoma and resulted in a symptomatic change in ipsilateral hearing (word recognition 86% at 52 dB) and increased latency of the wave I–V interval on auditory brainstem response testing. The patient was found to be negative for a germline mutation of NF2 and LZTR1, and her affected mother was found to harbor neither NF2 nor SMARCB1 mutations on genetic testing. Although vestibular schwannomas have been classically considered to not occur in the setting of schwannomatosis, this patient with schwannomatosis and a vestibular schwannoma further confirms that schwannomas can occur on the vestibular nerve in this syndrome. Further, this is the first such case found to be negative for a mutation on the LZTR1 gene.

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Jay Jagannathan, Jonathan H. Sherman, Gautam U. Mehta and Lawrence S. Chin

✓Stereotactic radiosurgery is a neurosurgical modality in which a target lesion can be irradiated while sparing normal brain tissue. In some respects, brain metastasis is well suited for radiosurgery, as metastatic lesions tend to be small and well circumscribed and displace (but do not infiltrate) normal brain tissue, facilitating the delivery of radiation. Advances in stereotactic radiosurgical planning, such as blocking patterns and beam shaping, have allowed further targeting of discrete lesions while minimizing the effect of radiation toxicity on the central nervous system. In this paper the authors review the radiobiology of brain metastases and stereotactic radiosurgical approaches that can be used to treat these tumors safely.

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Edward R. Laws Jr., Kenneth de los Reyes and Jordina Rincon-Torroella

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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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Gautam U. Mehta, Ashok R. Asthagiri, Kamran D. Bakhtian, Sungyoung Auh, Edward H. Oldfield and Russell R. Lonser

Object

Spinal cord hemangioblastomas are a common protean manifestation of von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease and can be associated with significant morbidity. To better define expected outcome and optimal management of these tumors in the context of this neoplasia syndrome, the authors analyzed the findings from patients with VHL disease who underwent resection of spinal cord hemangioblastomas.

Methods

Consecutive patients with VHL disease who underwent surgery for spinal cord hemangioblastomas with > 6 months follow-up were included in the study. Serial clinical examinations, functional scores, imaging findings, and operative records were analyzed.

Results

One hundred eight patients (57 male, 51 female) underwent 156 operations for resection of 218 spinal cord hemangioblastomas. One hundred forty-six operations (94%) were performed for symptom-producing tumors. The most common presenting symptoms included hypesthesia (64% of resections), hyperreflexia (57%), dysesthesia (43%), and weakness (36%). Mean follow-up was 7.0 ± 5.0 years (range 0.5–20.9 years). Complete resection was achieved for 217 tumors (99.5%). At 6-months follow-up, patients were stable or improved after 149 operations (96%) and worse after 7 operations (4%). Ventral tumors (OR 15.66, 95% CI 2.54–96.45; p = 0.003) or completely intramedullary tumors (OR 10.74, 95% CI 2.07–55.66; p = 0.005) were associated with an increased risk of postoperative worsening. The proportion of patients remaining functionally stable at 2, 5, 10, and 15 years' follow-up was 93, 86, 78, and 78%. Long-term functional decline was caused by extensive VHL-associated CNS disease (6 patients), VHL-associated visceral disease (1 patient), or non-VHL disease (2 patients).

Conclusions

Resection of symptomatic spinal cord hemangioblastomas is a safe and effective means of preserving neurological function in patients with VHL disease. Tumor location (ventral or completely intramedullary) can be used to assess functional risk associated with surgery. Long-term decline in neurological function is usually caused by VHL-associated disease progression.