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Giuseppe M. V. Barbagallo, Nunzio Platania and Claudio Schonauer

✓ The authors describe a new extension of the use of neuroendoscopy beyond that which is ordinarily performed. The authors report on the resolution of acute, obstructive, triventricular hydrocephalus in a 42-year-old woman with hypertensive caudate hemorrhage that migrated into the ventricular system. The patient underwent emergency endoscopic removal of a third ventricular hematoma, which was obstructing the orifice of the aqueduct, and restoration of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow but no third ventriculostomy. The authors believe that this is the first such case to be reported. In selected cases of third ventricular hemorrhage, endoscopic removal of the intraventricular hematoma may represent a useful and effective treatment option even in emergency conditions as well as a better alternative to prolonged CSF external ventricular drainage. A reduction in the duration of hospitalization is a beneficial consequence. The authors assert that third ventriculostomy is not always needed.

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Francesco Certo, Giada Toccaceli, Roberto Altieri and Giuseppe M. V. Barbagallo

We present a case of a 62-year-old man with acute onset of diplopia, headache, and vomiting for a bleeding thalamomesencephalic cavernoma. The lesion was removed via the anterior transcallosal transchoroidal approach. His head was slightly flexed and a right paramedian craniotomy for an interhemispheric approach was performed. The interhemispheric fissure was split and, after callosotomy, the choroidal fissure was opened along the tenia fornicis to enter the velum interpositum and enlarge the foramen of Monro. The cavernoma was then identified and resected. There were no long-term postoperative neurological deficits. This approach is a valid alternative for thalamomesencephalic lesions.

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Giuseppe M.V. Barbagallo, Francesco Certo, Giovanni Sciacca and Vincenzo Albanese

This video demonstrates the minimally invasive surgical technique used in a 56-year-old woman suffering from L-5 spondylolysis and grade 2 L5–S1 spondylolisthesis. The first author used expandable tubular retractors bilaterally to perform neural decompression, mini-open TLIF, spondylolysthesis reduction and L5–S1 pedicle screw fixation. L-5 cement augmentation was performed through cannulated and fenestrated screws to enhance resistance to screw pull-out secondary to reduction maneuvers.

Sequential surgical steps related to microsurgery, spondylolysthesis reduction and instrumentation are shown and commented.

We submit that in cases of lythic spondylolisthesis a bilateral traversing and exiting nerve roots decompression is a safer option prior to performing the deformity reduction and fixation; the proposed minimally invasive technique may help in reducing surgical morbidity and improving postoperative recovery.

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Giuseppe M. V. Barbagallo, Mario Piccini, Alessandro Gasbarrini, Pietro Milone and Vincenzo Albanese

The authors describe a very rare and previously unreported complication of thoracoscopic discectomy. Endoscopic spine surgery has evolved as a safe and effective treatment, and thoracoscopic discectomy, in particular, provides several advantages over open approaches, although it can be associated with intraoperative or postoperative complications. The most frequently observed adverse events are intercostal neuralgia, retained disc fragments, durotomies, atelectasis, extensive bleeding, and emergency conversion to open thoracotomy for vascular injuries. Even rare complications, such as chylorrhea or brain hemorrhagic infarction, have been reported. Nonetheless, a literature review did not reveal any case of postoperative intraabdominal hematoma following thoracoscopic discectomy. A 43-year-old woman, with no history of hematological or vascular disorders or thoracic surgery, underwent a right-sided thoracoscopic discectomy for T11–12 disc herniation. No apparent surgical technique–related complications were encountered, but intermittently repeated difficulties with single-lung ventilation occurred. The resultant dysventilation allowed partial right lung reexpansion, along with increased abdominal pressure. The latter induced an upward ballooning of the right diaphragm with consequent obstruction of the surgical field of view, requiring constant and continuous pressure applied to the thoracic surface of the diaphragm via a metal fan retractor and thus counteracting the increased abdominal pressure. Postoperatively, a large subdiaphragmatic hematoma originating from a bleeding right inferior phrenic artery was diagnosed and required urgent endovascular occlusion. The patient made an uneventful recovery with conservative treatment. A very rare and previously unreported complication—that is, early subdiaphragmatic hematoma after thoracoscopic discectomy—is described here. The authors submit that conversion to an open approach is safer when persistent anesthesia-related complications are encountered in thoracoscopic discectomy.

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Giuseppe M. V. Barbagallo, Salvatore Lanzafame, Giovanni F. Nicoletti, Nunzio Platania and Vincenzo Albanese

✓ The authors report an exceedingly rare case of a patient harboring a primary, spinal, C1–2, intradural, extramedullary meningeal sarcoma in which there were glial fibrillary acidic protein-immunoreactive components, but, importantly, no physical connection with neural tissue. On initial diagnostic imaging, neuroradiological features suggestive of a spinal meningioma were demonstrated in this 73-year-old man. He underwent a C1–2 laminectomy and removal of the posterior ring of the foramen magnum, and the lesion was excised. Histological and immunohistochemical testing showed a gliosarcoma. The clinical, radiological, and operative data are reviewed, as are the histopathological findings. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first case of a primary spinal intradural extramedullary gliosarcoma reported in the literature.

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Giuseppe M. V. Barbagallo, Laurence A. G. Marshman, Carl Hardwidge and Richard W. Gullan

✓ The authors present two cases of thoracic idiopathic spinal cord herniation (TISCH) occurring at the vertebral body (VB) level in whom adequate surgical reduction failed to reverse symptoms. In the second case, in which TISCH occurred into a VB cavity, presentation was atypical (subacute spinal cord syndrome) and there was persistent postoperative deterioration.

In both cases, adequate surgical reduction was achieved via a posterior midthoracic laminectomy, and reduction was maintained by closure of the anterior dural defect by using prosthetic material.

Thoracic idiopathic spinal cord herniation occurring at a VB level may be technically well treated by surgical reduction, but the outcome appears less predictable. Herniation that occurs directly into a VB cavity may form a distinct subgroup in which the presentation is atypical and the prognosis worse.

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Giuseppe M. V. Barbagallo, Sabrina Paratore, Rosario Caltabiano, Stefano Palmucci, Hector Soto Parra, Giuseppe Privitera, Fabio Motta, Salvatore Lanzafame, Giorgio Scaglione, Antonio Longo, Vincenzo Albanese and Francesco Certo


The objective of this study was to report the authors' experience with the long-term administration of temozolomide (TMZ; > 6 cycles, up to 101) in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma and to analyze its feasibility and safety as well as its impact on survival. The authors also compared data obtained from the group of patients undergoing long-term TMZ treatment with data from patients treated with a standard TMZ protocol.


A retrospective analysis was conducted of 37 patients who underwent operations for glioblastoma between 2004 and 2012. Volumetric analysis of postoperative Gd-enhanced MR images, obtained within 48 hours, confirmed tumor gross-total resection (GTR) in all but 2 patients. All patients received the first cycle of TMZ at a dosage of 150 mg/m2 starting on the second or third postsurgical day. Afterward, patients received concomitant radiochemotherapy according to the Stupp protocol. With regard to adjuvant TMZ therapy, the 19 patients in Group A, aged 30–72 years (mean 56.1 years), received 150 mg/m2 for 5 days every 28 days for more than 6 cycles (range 7–101 cycles). The 18 patients in Group B, aged 46–82 years (mean 64.8 years), received the same dose, but for no more than 6 cycles. O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) promoter methylation status was analyzed for both groups and correlated with overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS). The impact of age, sex, Karnofsky Performance Scale score, and Ki 67 staining were also considered.


All patients but 1 in Group A survived at least 18 months (range 18–101 months), and patients in Group B survived no more than 17 months (range 2–17 months). The long-term survivors (Group A), defined as patients who survived at least 12 months after diagnosis, were 51.3% of the total (19/37). Kaplan-Meier curve analysis showed that patients treated with more than 6 TMZ cycles had OS and PFS that was significantly longer than patients receiving standard treatment (median OS 28 months vs 8 months, respectively; p = 0.0001; median PFS 20 months vs 4 months, respectively; p = 0.0002). By univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazard regression analysis, MGMT methylation status and number of TMZ cycles appeared to be survival prognostic factors in patients with glioblastoma. After controlling for MGMT status, highly significant differences related to OS and PFS between patients with standard and long-term TMZ treatment were still detected. Furthermore, in Group A and B, the statistical correlation of MGMT status to the number of TMZ cycles showed a significant difference only in Group A patients, suggesting that MGMT promoter methylation was predictive of response for long-term TMZ treatment. Prolonged therapy did not confer hematological toxicity or opportunistic infections in either patient group.


This study describes the longest experience so far reported with TMZ in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastomas, with as many as 101 cycles, who were treated using GTR. Statistically significant data confirm that median survival correlates with MGMT promoter methylation status as well as with the number of TMZ cycles administered. Long-term TMZ therapy appears feasible and safe.

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Bhupal Chitnavis, Giuseppe Barbagallo, Richard Selway, Ronan Dardis, Ahmed Hussain and Richard Gullan

Object. The authors undertook a study to assess the value of posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) in which carbon fiber cages (CFCs) were placed in patients undergoing revision disc surgery for symptoms suggesting neural compression with low-back pain.

Methods. The authors followed their first 50 patients for a maximum of 5 years and a minimum of 6 months after implantation of the CFCs. Patients in whom magnetic resonance (MR) imaging demonstrated “simple” recurrent herniation did not undergo PLIF. Surgery was performed in patients with symptoms of neural root compression, tension signs, and back pain with focal disc degeneration and nerve root distortion depicted on MR imaging compatible with clinical signs and symptoms. In 40 patients (80%) pedicle screws were not used. Clinical outcome was assessed using the Prolo Functional Economic Outcome Rating scale. Fusion outcome was assessed using an established classification.

Symptoms in 46 patients (92%) improved after surgery, and given their outcomes, 45 (90%) would have undergone the same surgery again. Two thirds of patients experienced good or excellent outcomes (Prolo score ≥ 8) at early and late follow up. There was no difference in clinical outcome between those in whom pedicle screws were and were not implanted (p = 0.83, Mann—Whitney U-test). The fusion rate at 2 years postsurgery was 95%. There were minimal complications, and no patients fared worse after surgery. No patient has undergone additional surgical treratment of the fused intervertebral space.

Conclusions. In this difficult group of patients the aim remains to improve symptoms but not cure the disease. A high fusion rate is possible when using the CFCs. Clinical success depends on selecting patients in whom radiological and clinical criteria accord. Pedicle screws are not necessary if facet joints are preserved, and high fusion rates and clinical success are possible without them.