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Hirotaka Hasegawa, Tomohiro Inoue, Akira Tamura, and Isamu Saito

Acute internal carotid artery (ICA) terminus occlusion is associated with extremely poor functional outcomes or mortality, especially when it is caused by plaque rupture of the cervical ICA with engrafted thrombus that elongates and extends into the ICA terminus. The goal of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of surgical embolectomy in conjunction with carotid endarterectomy (CEA) for acute ICA terminus occlusion associated with cervical plaque rupture resulting in tandem occlusion. A retrospective review of medical records was performed. Clinical and radiographic characteristics were evaluated, including details of surgical technique, recanalization grade, recanalization time, complications, modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score at 3 months, and National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score improvement at 1 month. Three patients (mean age 77.3 years; median presenting NIHSS Score 22, range 19–26) presented with abrupt tandem occlusion of the cervical ICA and ICA terminus and were selected for surgery after confirmation of embolic high-density signal at the ICA terminus on CT and diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI)/magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) mismatch. All patients underwent craniotomy for surgical embolectomy of the ICA terminus embolus followed by cervical exposure, aspiration of long residual proximal embolus ranging from the cervical to cavernous ICA, and removal of ruptured unstable plaque by CEA. Postoperative MRA demonstrated Thrombolysis In Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) 3 recanalization in all patients (100%) without evidence of additional infarction according to DWI. Mean recanalization time from hospital arrival was 234 minutes and from start of surgery, 151 minutes. Serial postoperative CT and MRI studies showed no symptomatic hemorrhage, brain edema, or progression of infarction. The patients' mRS scores at 3 months were 3, 3, and 1. All 3 patients demonstrated marked improvements in NIHSS scores (median 17 points; range 13–23 points) at 1 month. Considering the dismal prognosis associated with ICA terminus occlusion, especially when accompanied by cervical plaque rupture, emergent surgical embolectomy in conjunction with CEA might be an effective and decisive treatment option with a high complete recanalization rate and acceptable safety profile.

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Satoshi Kiyofuji, Tomohiro Inoue, Hirotaka Hasegawa, Akira Tamura, and Isamu Saito

Embolic intracranial large artery occlusion with severe neurological deficit is associated with an extremely poor prognosis. The safest and most effective treatment strategy has not yet been determined when such emboli are associated with unstable proximal carotid plaque. The authors performed emergent surgical embolectomy for left middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion, and the patient experienced marked neurological recovery without focal deficit and regained premorbid activity. Postoperative investigation revealed “vulnerable plaque” of the left internal carotid artery without apparent evidence of cardiac embolism, such as would be seen with atrial fibrillation. Specimens from subsequent elective carotid endarterectomy (CEA) showed ruptured vulnerable plaque that was histologically consistent as a source of the intracranial embolic specimen. Surgical embolectomy for MCA occlusion due to carotid plaque rupture followed by CEA could be a safer and more effective alternative to endovascular treatment from the standpoint of obviating the risk of secondary embolism that could otherwise occur as a result of the manipulation of devices through an extremely unstable portion of plaque. Further, this strategy is associated with a high probability of complete recanalization with direct removal of hard and large, though fragile, emboli.

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Masahiro Shin, Hirotaka Hasegawa, Satoru Miyawaki, Akinobu Kakigi, Tsuguto Takizawa, Kenji Kondo, Taketo Shiode, Taichi Kin, and Nobuhito Saito

OBJECTIVE

The posterior petrosal approach is an established surgical method offering wide access to skull base lesions through mastoid air cells. The authors describe their experience with the endoscopic transmastoid “posterior petrosal” approach (EPPAP) for skull base tumors involving the internal auditory canal (IAC), jugular foramen, and hypoglossal canal.

METHODS

The EPPAP was performed for 7 tumors (3 chordomas, 2 chondrosarcomas, 1 schwannoma, and 1 solitary fibrous tumor). All surgical procedures were performed under endoscopic visualization with mastoidectomy. The compact bone of the mastoid air cells and posterior surface of the petrous bone are carefully removed behind the semicircular canals. When removal of cancellous bone is extended superomedially through the infralabyrinthine space, the surgeon can expose the IAC and petrous portion of the internal carotid artery to reach the petrous apex (infralabyrinthine route). When removal of cancellous bone is extended inferomedially along the sigmoid sinus, the surgeon can safely reach the jugular foramen (transjugular route). Drilling of the inferior surface of petrous bone is extended further inferoposteriorly behind the jugular bulb to approach the hypoglossal canal and parapharyngeal space through the lateral aspect of the occipital condyle (infrajugular route).

RESULTS

Of the 7 tumors, gross-total resection was achieved in 4 (57.1%), subtotal resection (> 95% removal) in 2 (28.6%), and partial resection (90% removal) in 1 (14.2%). Postoperatively, 2 of 3 patients with exudative otitis media showed improvement of hearing deterioration, as did 2 patients with tinnitus. Hypoglossal nerve palsy and swallowing difficulty were improved after surgery in 2 patients and 1 patient, respectively. In 1 patient with severe cranial nerve deficits before surgery, symptoms did not show any improvement.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors present their preliminary experience with EPPAP for skull base tumors in the petrous part of the temporal bone and the lateral part of the occipital condyle involving the cranial nerves and internal carotid arteries. The microscope showed a higher-quality image and illumination in the low-power field. However, the endoscope could offer wider visualization of the surgical field and contribute to minimizing the size of the surgical pathways, necessity of brain retraction, and eventually the invasiveness of surgery. Thus, the EPPAP may be safe and effective for skull base tumors in the petrous region, achieving balance between the radicality and invasiveness of the skull base surgery.

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Hirotaka Hasegawa, Masahiro Shin, Kenji Kondo, Shunya Hanakita, Akitake Mukasa, Taichi Kin, and Nobuhito Saito

OBJECTIVE

Skull base chondrosarcoma is one of the most intractable tumors because of its aggressive biological behavior and involvement of the internal carotid artery and cranial nerves (CNs). One of the most accepted treatment strategies for skull base chondrosarcoma has been surgical removal of the tumor in conjunction with proactive extensive radiation therapy (RT) to the original tumor bed. However, the optimal strategy has not been determined. The goal of this study was to evaluate the early results of endoscopic transnasal surgery (ETS).

METHODS

The authors retrospectively analyzed 19 consecutive patients who underwent ETS at their institution since 2010. Adjuvant stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) was performed only for the small residual tumors that were not resected to avoid critical neurological complications. Histological confirmation and evaluation of the MIB-1 index was performed in all cases. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to determine the actuarial rate of tumor-free survival.

RESULTS

The median tumor volume and maximal diameter were 14.5 cm3 (range 1.4–88.4 cm3) and 3.8 cm (range 1.5–6.7 cm), respectively. Nine patients (47%) had intradural extension of the tumor. Gross-total resection was achieved in 15 (78.9%) of the 19 patients, without any disabling complications. In 4 patients, the surgery resulted in subtotal (n = 2, 11%) or partial (n = 2, 11%) resection because the tumors involved critical structures, including the basilar artery or the lower CNs. These 4 patients were additionally treated with SRS. The median follow-up duration was 47, 28, and 27 months after the diagnosis, ETS, and SRS, respectively. In 1 patient with an anterior skull base chondrosarcoma, the tumor relapsed in the optic canal 1 year later and was treated with a second ETS. Favorable tumor control was achieved in all other patients. The actuarial tumor control rate was 93% at 5 years. At the final follow-up, all patients were alive and able to perform independent activities of daily living without continuous neurological sequelae.

CONCLUSIONS

These preliminary results suggest that ETS can achieve sufficient radical tumor removal, resulting in comparative resection rates with fewer neurological complications to those in previous reports. Although the follow-up periods of these cases were relatively short, elective SRS to the small tumor remnant may be rational, achieving successful tumor control in some cases, instead of using proactive extensive RT. Thus, the addition of RT should be discussed with each patient, after due consideration of histological grading and biological behavior. To determine the efficacy of this strategy, a larger case series with a longer follow-up period is essential. However, this strategy may be able to establish evidence in the management of skull base chondrosarcoma, providing less-invasive and effective options as an initial step of treatment.

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Masahiro Shin, Kenji Kondo, Shunya Hanakita, Hirotaka Hasegawa, Masanori Yoshino, Yu Teranishi, Taichi Kin, and Nobuhito Saito

OBJECTIVE

Reports about endoscopic endonasal surgery for skull base tumors involving the lateral part of petrous apex remain scarce. The authors present their experience with the endoscopic transsphenoidal anterior petrosal (ETAP) approach through the retrocarotid space for tumors involving the internal auditory canal, jugular fossa, and cavernous sinus.

METHODS

The authors performed the ETAP approach in 10 patients with 11 tumors (bilateral in 1 patient) that extensively occupied the lateral part of petrous apex, e.g., the internal auditory canal and jugular fossa. Eight patients presented with diplopia (unilateral abducens nerve palsy), 3 with tinnitus, and 1 with unilateral hearing loss with facial palsy. After wide anterior sphenoidotomy, the sellar floor, clival recess, and carotid prominence were verified. Tumors were approached via an anteromedial petrosectomy through the retrocarotid triangular space, defined by the cavernous and vertical segments of the internal carotid artery (ICA), the clivus, and the petrooccipital fissure. The surgical window was easily enlarged by drilling the petrous bone along the petrooccipital fissure. After exposure of the tumor and ICA, dissection and resection of the tumor were mainly performed under direct visualization with 30° and 70° endoscopes.

RESULTS

Gross-total resection was achieved in 8 patients (9 tumors). In a patient with invasive meningioma, the tumor was strongly adherent to the ICA, necessitating partial resection. Postoperatively, all 8 patients who had presented with abducens nerve palsy preoperatively showed improvement within 6 months. In the patient presenting with hearing loss and facial palsy, the facial palsy completely resolved within 3 months, but hearing loss remained. Regarding complications, 3 patients showed mild and transient abducens nerve palsy resolving within 2 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months. Postoperative CSF rhinorrhea requiring surgical repair was observed in 1 patient. No patient exhibited hearing deterioration, facial palsy, or symptoms of lower cranial nerve palsy after surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

The ETAP approach can offer a simple, less invasive option for invasive skull base tumors involving petrous regions, including the internal auditory canal, jugular fossa, and cavernous sinus. The ETAP approach can reach more extensive areas in the extradural regions around the petrous bone. The authors' results indicate that the transsphenoidal retrocarotid route is sufficient to approach the petrosal areas in select cases. Further expansion of the surgical field is not always necessary. However, experience with intradural lesions remains limited, and the extent of tumor resection largely depends on tumor characteristics. Application of the ETAP approach should thus be carefully determined in each patient, taking into consideration the size of the retrocarotid window and tumor characteristics.

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Mariko Kawashima, Hirotaka Hasegawa, Masahiro Shin, Yuki Shinya, Osamu Ishikawa, Satoshi Koizumi, Atsuto Katano, Hirofumi Nakatomi, and Nobuhito Saito

OBJECTIVE

The major concern about ruptured arteriovenous malformations (rAVMs) is recurrent hemorrhage, which tends to preclude stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) as a therapeutic modality for these brain malformations. In this study, the authors aimed to clarify the role of SRS for rAVM as a stand-alone modality and an adjunct for a remnant nidus after surgery or embolization.

METHODS

Data on 410 consecutive patients with rAVMs treated with SRS were analyzed. The patients were classified into groups, according to prior interventions: SRS-alone, surgery and SRS (Surg-SRS), and embolization and SRS (Embol-SRS) groups. The outcomes of the SRS-alone group were analyzed in comparison with those of the other two groups.

RESULTS

The obliteration rate was higher in the Surg-SRS group than in the SRS-alone group (5-year cumulative rate 97% vs 79%, p < 0.001), whereas no significant difference was observed between the Embol-SRS and SRS-alone groups. Prior resection (HR 1.78, 95% CI 1.30–2.43, p < 0.001), a maximum AVM diameter ≤ 20 mm (HR 1.81, 95% CI 1.43–2.30, p < 0.001), and a prescription dose ≥ 20 Gy (HR 2.04, 95% CI 1.28–3.27, p = 0.003) were associated with a better obliteration rate, as demonstrated by multivariate Cox proportional hazards analyses. In the SRS-alone group, the annual post-SRS hemorrhage rates were 1.5% within 5 years and 0.2% thereafter and the 10-year significant neurological event–free rate was 95%; no intergroup difference was observed in either outcome. The exclusive performance of SRS (SRS alone) was not a risk for post-SRS hemorrhage or for significant neurological events based on multivariate analyses. These results were also confirmed with propensity score–matched analyses.

CONCLUSIONS

The treatment strategy for rAVMs should be tailored with due consideration of multiple factors associated with the patients. Stand-alone SRS is effective for hemorrhagic AVMs, and the risk of post-SRS hemorrhage was low. SRS can also be favorably used for residual AVMs after initial interventions, especially after failed resection.

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Hirotaka Hasegawa, Shunya Hanakita, Masahiro Shin, Mariko Kawashima, Taichi Kin, Wataru Takahashi, Yuichi Suzuki, Yuki Shinya, Hideaki Ono, Masaaki Shojima, Hirofumi Nakatomi, and Nobuhito Saito

OBJECTIVE

In Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKS) for arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), CT angiography (CTA), MRI, and digital subtraction angiography (DSA) are generally used to define the nidus. Although the AVM angioarchitecture can be visualized with superior resolution using rotational angiography (RA), the efficacy of integrating RA into the GKS treatment planning process has not been elucidated.

METHODS

Using data collected from 25 consecutive patients with AVMs who were treated with GKS at the authors’ institution, two neurosurgeons independently created treatment plans for each patient before and after RA integration. For all patients, MR angiography, contrasted T1 imaging, CTA, DSA, and RA were performed before treatment. The prescription isodose volume before (PIVB) and after (PIVA) RA integration was measured. For reference purposes, a reference target volume (RTV) for each nidus was determined by two other physicians independent of the planning surgeons, and the RTV covered by the PIV (RTVPIV) was established. The undertreated volume ratio (UVR), overtreated volume ratio (OVR), and Paddick’s conformal index (CI), which were calculated as RTVPIV/RTV, RTVPIV/PIV, and (RTVPIV)2/(RTV × PIV), respectively, were measured by each neurosurgeon before and after RA integration, and the surgeons’ values at each point were averaged. Wilcoxon signed-rank tests were used to compare the values obtained before and after RA integration. The percentage change from before to after RA integration was calculated for the average UVR (%ΔUVRave), OVR (%ΔOVRave), and CI (%ΔCIave) in each patient, as ([value after RA integration]/[value before RA integration] − 1) × 100. The relationships between prior histories and these percentage change values were examined using Wilcoxon signed-rank tests.

RESULTS

The average values obtained by the two surgeons for the median UVR, OVR, and CI were 0.854, 0.445, and 0.367 before RA integration and 0.882, 0.478, and 0.463 after RA integration, respectively. All variables significantly improved after compared with before RA integration (UVR, p = 0.009; OVR, p < 0.001; CI, p < 0.001). Prior hemorrhage was significantly associated with larger %ΔOVRave (median 20.8% vs 7.2%; p = 0.023) and %ΔCIave (median 33.9% vs 13.8%; p = 0.014), but not %ΔUVRave (median 4.7% vs 4.0%; p = 0.449).

CONCLUSIONS

Integrating RA into GKS treatment planning may permit better dose planning owing to clearer visualization of the nidus and, as such, may reduce undertreatment and waste irradiation. Further studies examining whether the observed RA-related improvement in dose planning also improves the radiosurgical outcome are needed.

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Hirotaka Hasegawa, Jamie J. Van Gompel, W. Richard Marsh, Robert E. Wharen Jr., Richard S. Zimmerman, David B. Burkholder, Brian N. Lundstrom, Jeffrey W. Britton, and Fredric B. Meyer

OBJECTIVE

Surgical site infection (SSI) is a rare but significant complication after vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) placement. Treatment options range from antibiotic therapy alone to hardware removal. The optimal therapeutic strategy remains open to debate. Therefore, the authors conducted this retrospective multicenter analysis to provide insight into the optimal management of VNS-related SSI (VNS-SSI).

METHODS

Under institutional review board approval and utilizing an institutional database with 641 patients who had undergone 808 VNS-related placement surgeries and 31 patients who had undergone VNS-related hardware removal surgeries, the authors retrospectively analyzed VNS-SSI.

RESULTS

Sixteen cases of VNS-SSI were identified; 12 of them had undergone the original VNS placement procedure at the authors’ institutions. Thus, the incidence of VNS-SSI was calculated as 1.5%. The mean (± standard deviation) time from the most recent VNS-related surgeries to infection was 42 (± 27) days. Methicillin-sensitive staphylococcus was the usual causative bacteria (58%). Initial treatments included antibiotics with or without nonsurgical procedures (n = 6), nonremoval open surgeries for irrigation (n = 3), generator removal (n = 3), and total or near-total removal of hardware (n = 4). Although 2 patients were successfully treated with antibiotics alone or combined with generator removal, removal of both the generator and leads was eventually required in 14 patients. Mild swallowing difficulties and hoarseness occurred in 2 patients with eventual resolution.

CONCLUSIONS

Removal of the VNS including electrode leads combined with antibiotic administration is the definitive treatment but has a risk of causing dysphagia. If the surgeon finds dense scarring around the vagus nerve, the prudent approach is to snip the electrode close to the nerve as opposed to attempting to unwind the lead completely.

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Hiroki Ushirozako, Tomohiko Hasegawa, Shigeto Ebata, Tetsuro Ohba, Hiroki Oba, Keijiro Mukaiyama, Satoshi Shimizu, Yu Yamato, Koichiro Ide, Yosuke Shibata, Toshiyuki Ojima, Jun Takahashi, Hirotaka Haro, and Yukihiro Matsuyama

OBJECTIVE

Nonunion after posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) is associated with poor long-term outcomes in terms of health-related quality of life. Biomechanical factors in the fusion segment may influence spinal fusion rates. There are no reports on the relationship between intervertebral union and the absorption of autografts or vertebral endplates. Therefore, the purpose of this retrospective study was to evaluate the risk factors of nonunion after PLIF and identify preventive measures.

METHODS

The authors analyzed 138 patients who underwent 1-level PLIF between 2016 and 2018 (75 males, 63 females; mean age 67 years; minimum follow-up period 12 months). Lumbar CT images obtained soon after the surgery and at 6 and 12 months of follow-up were examined for the mean total occupancy rate of the autograft, presence of a translucent zone between the autograft and endplate (more than 50% of vertebral diameter), cage subsidence, and screw loosening. Complete intervertebral union was defined as the presence of both upper and lower complete fusion in the center cage regions on coronal and sagittal CT slices at 12 months postoperatively. Patients were classified into either union or nonunion groups.

RESULTS

Complete union after PLIF was observed in 62 patients (45%), while nonunion was observed in 76 patients (55%). The mean total occupancy rate of the autograft immediately after the surgery was higher in the union group than in the nonunion group (59% vs 53%; p = 0.046). At 12 months postoperatively, the total occupancy rate of the autograft had decreased by 5.4% in the union group and by 11.9% in the nonunion group (p = 0.020). A translucent zone between the autograft and endplate immediately after the surgery was observed in 14 and 38 patients (23% and 50%) in the union and nonunion groups, respectively (p = 0.001). The nonunion group had a significantly higher proportion of cases with cage subsidence and screw loosening at 12 months postoperatively in comparison to the union group (p = 0.010 and p = 0.009, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

A lower occupancy rate of the autograft and the presence of a translucent zone between the autograft and endplate immediately after the surgery were associated with nonunion at 12 months after PLIF. It may be important to achieve sufficient contact between the autograft and endplate intraoperatively for osseous union enhancement and to avoid excessive absorption of the autograft. The achievement of complete intervertebral union may decrease the incidence of cage subsidence or screw loosening.