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Response to Editorials

Arteriovenous malformations and radiosurgery

Douglas Kondziolka, Hideyuki Kano, and L. Dade Lunsford

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Editorial

Trigeminal neuralgia

Kim J. Burchiel

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Ajay Niranjan, Ahmed Kashkoush, Hideyuki Kano, Edward A. Monaco III, John C. Flickinger, and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

Seizures are the second-most common presenting symptom in patients with lobar arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). However, few studies have assessed the long-term effect of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) on seizure control. The authors of this study assess the outcome of SRS for these patients to identify prognostic factors associated with seizure control.

METHODS

Patients with AVM who presented with a history of seizure and underwent SRS at the authors’ institution between 1987 and 2012 were retrospectively assessed. The total cohort included 155 patients with a mean follow-up of 86 months (range 6–295 months). Primary outcomes assessed were seizure frequency, antiepileptic drug regimen, and seizure freedom for 6 months prior to last follow-up.

RESULTS

Seizure-free status was achieved in 108 patients (70%), with an additional 23 patients (15%) reporting improved seizure frequency as compared to their pre-SRS status. The median time to seizure-free status was estimated to be 12 months (95% CI 0–27 months) as evaluated via Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. The mean seizure frequency prior to SRS was 14.2 (95% CI 5.4–23.1) episodes per year. Although not all patients tried, the proportion of patients successfully weaned off all antiepileptic drugs was 18% (28/155 patients). On multivariate logistic regression, focal impaired awareness seizure type (also known as complex partial seizures) and superficial venous drainage were significantly associated with a decreased odds ratio for seizure-free status at last follow-up (OR 0.37 [95% CI 0.15–0.92] for focal impaired awareness seizures; OR 0.36 [95% CI 0.16–0.81] for superficial venous drainage). The effects of superficial venous drainage on seizure outcome were nonsignificant when excluding patients with < 2 years of follow-up. AVM obliteration did not correlate with long-term seizure freedom (p = 0.202, chi-square test).

CONCLUSIONS

This study suggests that SRS improves long-term seizure control and increases the likelihood of being medication free, independently of AVM obliteration. Patients with focal impaired awareness seizures were less likely to obtain long-term seizure relief.

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Gillian Harrison, Hideyuki Kano, L. Dade Lunsford, John C. Flickinger, and Douglas Kondziolka

OBJECT

The reported tumor control rates for meningiomas after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) are high; however, early imaging assessment of tumor volumes may not accurately predict the eventual tumor response. The objective in this study was to quantitatively evaluate the volumetric responses of meningiomas after SRS and to determine whether early volume responses are predictive of longer-term tumor control.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of 252 patients (median age 56 years, range 14–87 years) who underwent Gamma Knife radiosurgery between 2002 and 2010. All patients had evaluable pre- and postoperative T1-weighted contrast-enhanced MRIs. The median baseline tumor volume was 3.5 cm3 (range 0.2–33.8 cm3) and the median follow-up was 19.5 months (range 0.1–104.6 months). Follow-up tumor volumes were compared with baseline volumes. Tumor volume percent change and the tumor volume rate of change were compared at 3-month intervals. Eventual tumor responses were classified as progressed for > 15% volume change, regressed for ≤ 15% change, and stable for ± 15% of baseline volume at time of last follow-up. Volumetric data were compared with the final tumor status by using univariable and multivariable logistic regression.

RESULTS

Tumor volume regression (median decrease of −40.2%) was demonstrated in 168 (67%) patients, tumor stabilization (median change of −2.7%) in 67 (26%) patients, and delayed tumor progression (median increase of 104%) in 17 (7%) patients (p < 0.001). Tumors that eventually regressed had an average volume reduction of −18.2% at 3 months. Tumors that eventually progressed all demonstrated volume increase by 6 months. Transient progression was observed in 15 tumors before eventual decrease, and transient regression was noted in 6 tumors before eventual volume increase.

CONCLUSIONS

The volume response of meningiomas after SRS is dynamic, and early imaging estimations of the tumor volume may not correlate with the final tumor response. However, tumors that ultimately regressed tended to respond in the first 3 months, whereas tumors that ultimately progressed showed progression within 6 months.

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Mohamed Samy Elhammady and Roberto C. Heros

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Editorial

Relationship between tinnitus and surgical options for vestibular schwannomas

Douglas Kondziolka and Hideyuki Kano

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Jason Sheehan and Chun Po Yen

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Douglas Kondziolka, Seyed H. Mousavi, Hideyuki Kano, John C. Flickinger, and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

Management recommendations for patients with smaller-volume or newly diagnosed vestibular schwannomas (< 4 cm3) need to be based on an understanding of the anticipated natural history of the tumor and the side effects it produces. The natural history can then be compared with the risks and benefits of therapeutic intervention using a minimally invasive strategy such as stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS).

Methods

The authors reviewed the emerging literature stemming from recent recommendations to “wait and scan” (observation) and compared this strategy with published outcomes after early intervention using SRS or results from matched cohort studies of resection and SRS.

Results

Various retrospective studies indicate that vestibular schwannomas grow at a rate of 0–3.9 mm per year and double in volume between 1.65 and 4.4 years. Stereotactic radiosurgery arrests growth in up to 98% of patients when studied at intervals of 10–15 years. Most patients who select “wait and scan” note gradually decreasing hearing function leading to the loss of useful hearing by 5 years. In contrast, current studies indicate that 3–5 years after Gamma Knife surgery, 61%–80% of patients maintain useful hearing (speech discrimination score > 50%, pure tone average < 50).

Conclusions

Based on published data on both volume and hearing preservation for both strategies, the authors devised a management recommendation for patients with small vestibular schwannomas. When resection is not chosen by the patient, the authors believe that early SRS intervention, in contrast to observation, results in long-term tumor control and improved rates of hearing preservation.