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Henry W. S. Schroeder and Michael R. Gaab

The authors' intention is to reduce the invasiveness of intracranial procedures while avoiding traumatization of brain tissue, to decrease the risk of neurological and mental deficits. Intracranial endoscopy is a minimally invasive technique that provides rapid access to the target via small burr holes without the need for brain retraction. Craniotomy as well as microsurgical brain splitting and dissection can often be avoided. Furthermore, because obstructed cerebrospinal fluid pathways can be physiologically restored, the need for shunt placement is eliminated. The ventricular system and subarachnoid spaces provide ideal conditions for the use of an endoscope. Therefore, a variety of disorders, such as hydrocephalus, small intraventricular lesions, and arachnoid and parenchymal cysts can be effectively treated using endoscopic techniques. With the aid of special instruments, laser fibers, and bipolar diathermy, even highly vascularized lesions such as cavernomas may be treated. Moreover, during standard microsurgical procedures, the endoscopic view may provide valuable additional information ("looking around a corner") about the individual anatomy that is not visible with the microscope. In transsphenoidal pituitary surgery, transseptal dissection can be avoided if an endonasal approach is taken. In the depth of the intrasellar space, the extent of tumor removal can be more accurately controlled, especially in larger tumors with para- and suprasellar growth.

The combined use of endoscopes and computerized neuronavigation systems increases the accuracy of the approach and provides real-time control of the endoscope tip position and approach trajectory. In the future, the indications for neuroendoscopy will certainly expand with improved technical equipment.

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Michael R. Gaab and Henry W. S. Schroeder

Object

The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of endoscopic treatment in patients with intraventricular tumors.

Methods

A series of 30 patients with endoscopically treated intraventricular lesions is reported. The lesions included seven colloid cysts, six astrocytomas, three subependymomas, two ependymomas, and one each of the following: pineoblastoma, pineocytoma/pineoblastoma (intermediate type), epidermoid cyst, pineal cyst, medulloblastoma, arteriovenous hemangioma, cavernoma, choroid plexus papilloma, pituitary adenoma, craniopharyngioma, melanoma, and germinoma. Total tumor resections, partial resections, biopsies, stent implantations, septostomies, and third ventriculostomies were performed. In two cases (two subependymomas > 2 cm in diameter), piecemeal endoscopic resection was ineffective because of the very firm consistency of the tumors. Therefore the endoscopic procedure was discontinued and the tumors were removed microsurgically. In the remaining cases the procedures were completed as planned. Even in the presence of difficulties such as poor orientation or significant bleeding, there was no need to abandon the endoscopic procedure. A total of 28 strictly endoscopic interventions were performed, in which the average duration was 85 minutes (range 35–170 minutes). All colloid cysts and the epidermoid lesion were completely evacuated and the capsules were widely resected. Total extirpation of solid tumors was achieved in five cases, whereas most astrocytomas were partially resected. The hydrocephalus-related symptoms resolved in all of the 22 patients with cerebrospinal fluid pathway obstruction. There were no endoscopy-related deaths. In two cases, major bleeding occurred and was controlled endoscopically. The authors observed one case of meningitis, one of mutism, two of memory loss attributed to forniceal injury, one of transient trochlear palsy after a biopsy specimen of an aqueductal tumor was obtained, and one of transient confusion after a biopsy specimen of a germinoma was obtained.

Conclusions

In the authors' preliminary experience, the endoscopic approach was found to be safe and effective. In this series, it was possible to achieve relief of noncommunicating hydrocephalus, tumor resections, and even complete tumor removals by using endoscopic techniques. Based on the results, the authors believe that endoscopic techniques should be considered in the treatment of selected intraventricular lesions.

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Michael R. Gaab and Henry W. S. Schroeder

Object. The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of endoscopic treatment in patients with intraventricular tumors.

Methods. A series of 30 patients with endoscopically treated intraventricular lesions is reported. The lesions included seven colloid cysts, six astrocytomas, three subependymomas, two ependymomas, and one each of the following: pineoblastoma, pineocytoma/pineoblastoma (intermediate type), epidermoid cyst, pineal cyst, medulloblastoma, arteriovenous hemangioma, cavernoma, choroid plexus papilloma, pituitary adenoma, craniopharyngioma, melanoma, and germinoma. Total tumor resections, partial resections, biopsies, stent implantations, septostomies, and third ventriculostomies were performed. In two cases (two subependymomas > 2 cm in diameter), piecemeal endoscopic resection was ineffective because of the very firm consistency of the tumors. Therefore the endoscopic procedure was discontinued and the tumors were removed microsurgically. In the remaining cases the procedures were completed as planned. Even in the presence of difficulties such as poor orientation or significant bleeding, there was no need to abandon the endoscopic procedure. A total of 28 strictly endoscopic interventions were performed, in which the average duration was 85 minutes (range 35–170 minutes). All colloid cysts and the epidermoid lesion were completely evacuated and the capsules were widely resected. Total extirpation of solid tumors was achieved in five cases, whereas most astrocytomas were partially resected. The hydrocephalus-related symptoms resolved in all of the 22 patients with cerebrospinal fluid pathway obstruction. There were no endoscopy-related deaths. In two cases, major bleeding occurred and was controlled endoscopically. The authors observed one case of meningitis, one of mutism, two of memory loss attributed to forniceal injury, one of transient trochlear palsy after a biopsy specimen of an aqueductal tumor was obtained, and one of transient confusion after a biopsy specimen of a germinoma was obtained.

Conclusions. In the authors' preliminary experience, the endoscopic approach was found to be safe and effective. In this series, it was possible to achieve relief of noncommunicating hydrocephalus, tumor resections, and even complete tumor removals by using endoscopic techniques. Based on the results, the authors believe that endoscopic techniques should be considered in the treatment of selected intraventricular lesions.

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Ehab El Refaee, Joerg Baldauf and Henry W. S. Schroeder

Occlusion of both foramina of Monro following third ventriculostomy is a very rare complication. The authors present the case of a 30-year-old female who underwent endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) for occlusive hydrocephalus due to aqueductal stenosis. Thirty months after the ETV, she reported recurrent headaches. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated bilateral enlargement of the lateral ventricles with a collapsed third ventricle caused by bilateral stenosis of the foramina of Monro. Left-sided endoscopic foraminoplasty and stenting of the left foramen of Monro were performed with immediate neurological improvement.

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Dennis Päsler, Jörg Baldauf, Uwe Runge and Henry W. S. Schroeder

Aneurysms of the anterior inferior cerebellar artery (AICA) are a rare entity. Purely intrameatal aneurysms are even rarer. The authors report an intrameatal thrombosed AICA aneurysm mimicking a vestibular schwannoma that was treated by resection and end-to-end anastomosis.

This 22-year-old man presented with acute hearing loss, vertigo, and moderate facial palsy. Magnetic resonance imaging showed an atypical intrameatal lesion with dilation of the internal auditory canal.

Microsurgical inspection via a retrosigmoid approach and drilling of the posterior wall of the internal auditory canal revealed a thrombosed AICA aneurysm. The aneurysm was excised, and an end-to-end suture was performed to restore AICA continuity. Intraoperative indocyanine green videoangiography as well as postoperative digital substraction angiography showed a good revascularization.

Intrameatal AICA aneurysms may present with symptoms similar to vestibular schwannomas. End-to-end reanastomosis after aneurysm resection is a treatment option when clipping is impossible.

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Ahmed El Damaty, Jotham C. Manwaring and Henry W. S. Schroeder

This article describes a new endoscopic cutting tool that acts like a guillotine. It enables safe cutting of membranes overlying neurovascular structures because the footplate protects these structures from inadvertent injury. The footplate is introduced under the membrane, elevating it slightly, and then the membrane is cut while pushing the blade down into the footplate. The guillotine knife has been used in various endoscopic procedures such as septostomies, arachnoid cyst fenestrations, colloid cysts resections, and fenestrations of other intraventricular membranes. The authors think that the guillotine knife is a useful addition to the neuroendoscopic armamentarium.

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Henry W. S. Schroeder, Michael R. Gaab and Wulf-Rüdiger Niendorf

✓ A prospective study of seven consecutive patients with congenital arachnoid cysts treated endoscopically is reported. The ages of the patients at the time of diagnosis ranged from 6 to 47 years with three patients under 15 years. Two cysts were located in the posterior cranial fossa, four in the middle cranial fossa, and one in the suprasellar—prepontine area. The patients' symptoms included headache, seizures, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, balance problems, and precocious puberty. The authors performed cystocisternostomies and ventriculocystostomies via burr holes with the aid of a universal neuroendoscopic system. Minor bleeding was easily controlled by rinsing. In one case, the endoscopic procedure had to be abandoned because of significant bleeding, which obscured a clear operative view, and an open microsurgical cyst fenestration was performed. The follow-up review periods in this group of patients ranged from 15 to 30 months. There was no mortality or morbidity. Symptoms were relieved in five patients and improved in one. Precocious puberty in one case continued. In six cases, follow-up magnetic resonance images or computerized tomography scans revealed a decrease in the size of the cysts. Although the follow-up period is too short to make statements on long-term outcome, the authors recommend the minimally invasive endoscopic approach for treatment of arachnoid cysts as the first therapy of choice. Should the endoscopic procedure fail, established treatment options such as microsurgical fenestration or cystoperitoneal shunting can subsequently be performed without causing additional risk to the patient.

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Henry W. S. Schroeder, Wulf-Rüdiger Niendorf and Michael R. Gaab

Object. The purpose of this prospective investigation was to determine the rate of complications associated with endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV).

Methods. Between March 1993 and October 2001, 193 ETVs were performed in 188 patients at a single institution. The age of the patients ranged from 1 month to 85 years (mean age 39 years). One procedure had to be abandoned because a severe venous hemorrhage blurred the surgeon's view; however, third ventriculostomy was successfully accomplished in that patient 14 days later. In addition, there were two cases in which significant venous hemorrhages could be controlled endoscopically by using irrigation. Postoperative imaging revealed three subdural collections, one tiny thalamic contusion, one cortical hemorrhage at the puncture site, and one severe subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). There were two deaths (1% mortality rate) related to the endoscopic procedure; causes of death were one SAH from a torn basilar perforating artery and one wound infection leading to meningitis and septic multiorgan failure. Three permanent deficits occurred (confusion, oculomotor palsy, and diabetes insipidus [1.6% permanent morbidity rate]). Transient deficits included four cases of meningitis, three cases of cerebrospinal fluid leak, two cases of herniation syndrome, two cases of confusion, one case in which there was a decrease of consciousness, two cases of oculomotor palsy, and one case in which there was loss of thirst (7.8% transient morbidity rate). Misplacement of the fenestration was the main reason for severe complications. During the course of the study, the complication rate dropped significantly (no incidences of mortality or permanent morbidity occurred during the last 100 procedures).

Conclusions. All permanent and fatal complications occurred during the authors' very early experience, indicating that a steep learning curve was associated with the procedure. Endoscopic third ventriculostomy, if performed correctly, is a safe, simple, and effective treatment option for various forms of noncommunicating hydrocephalus.

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Jörg Baldauf, Dirk Junghans and Henry W. S. Schroeder

✓ An unusual case of an intraneural ganglion cyst of the hypoglossal nerve is presented. Only one case of this rare clinical entity has been reported previously. A 51-year-old woman presented with a 6-month history of left-sided hypoglossal nerve palsy. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a cystic lesion related to the hypoglossal canal. There was no enhancement of the lesion after administration of Gd. A high-resolution computerized tomography scan of the skull base demonstrated an enlargement of the hypoglossal canal.

To access the lesion, a far-lateral endoscope-assisted microsurgical approach was used. An intraneural ganglion lesion invading the hypoglossal nerve was found and resected. A histopathological examination confirmed that the lesion was an intraneural ganglion cyst. The occurrence of an intraneural ganglion cyst at the hypoglossal nerve is very rare. This case exemplifies an atypical location of a synovial cyst with cranial nerve involvement.