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Michael L. Schwartz, Charles H. Tator and Harold J. Hoffman

✓ At 2, 10, and 60 min after intravenous injection of tritiated hydrocortisone into tumor-bearing mice, samples of brain and tumor were taken for autoradiography. Within 2 min of injection, large amounts of the steroid had left the bloodstream and had penetrated normal brain. By 60 min virtually all the drug had left the brain. The most radioactive structure was the choroid plexus. Within the normal and edematous brain, hydrocortisone was not found in cells alone but was spread randomly throughout the tissue. Edematous brain adjacent to implanted tumor contained much more steroid than normal brain. This difference was maximal at 10 min after injection. Edematous white matter adjacent to tumor was usually as radioactive as tumor. In the ependymoblastoma at 2 min after injection, neoplastic cells and interstitial tissue adjacent to blood vessels contained much hydrocortisone. At 10 min the drug was uniformly spread through the tumor tissue and by 60 min was largely gone. The uptake of the drug by the edematous brain suggests a direct local action. The high choroid plexus concentration may indicate a direct action there, perhaps to reduce cerebrospinal fluid production.

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Peter J. Wilson, Sacit B. Omay, Ashutosh Kacker, Vijay K. Anand and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Pituitary adenomas are benign, slow-growing tumors that cause symptoms either through mass effect or hormone overproduction. The decision to operate on a healthy young person is relatively straightforward. In the elderly population, however, the risks of complications may increase, rendering the decision more complex. Few studies have documented the risks of surgery using the endonasal endoscopic approach in a large number of elderly patients. The purpose of this study was to audit a single center's data regarding outcomes of purely endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal resection of pituitary adenomas in elderly patients and to compare them to the current literature.

METHODS

A retrospective review of a prospectively acquired database of all endonasal endoscopic surgeries done by the senior authors was queried for patients aged 60–69 years and for those aged 70 years or older. Demographic and radiographic preoperative data were reviewed. Outcomes with respect to extent of resection and complications were examined and compared with appropriate statistical tests.

RESULTS

A total of 135 patents were identified (81 aged 60–69 years and 54 aged 70 years or older [70+]). The average tumor diameter was slightly larger for the patients in the 70+ age group (mean [SD] 25.7 ± 9.2 mm) than for patients aged 60–69 years (23.1 ± 9.8 mm, p = 0.056). There was no significant difference in intraoperative blood loss (p > 0.99), length of stay (p = 0.22), or duration of follow-up (p = 0.21) between the 2 groups. There was a 7.4% complication rate in patients aged 60–69 years (3 nasal and 3 medical complications) and an 18.5% complication rate in patients older than 70 years (4 cranial, 3 nasal, 1 visual, and 2 medical complications; p = 0.05 overall and 0.013 for cranial complications). Cranial complications in the 70+ age category included 2 postoperative hematomas, 1 pseudoaneurysm formation, and 1 case of symptomatic subdural hygromas.

CONCLUSIONS

Endonasal endoscopic surgery in elderly patients is safe, but there is a graded increase in complication rates with increasing age. The decision to operate on an asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic patient in these age groups should take this increasing complication rate into account. The use of a lumbar drain or lumbar punctures should be weighed against the risk of subdural hematoma in patients with preexisting atrophy.

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Jonathan P. S. Knisely, Rohan Ramakrishna and Theodore H. Schwartz

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Marc S. Schwartz, Gregory P. Lekovic, Derald E. Brackmann and Courtney C. J. Voelker

We present video of gross-total resection of a large cerebellopontine angle tumor consisting of both vestibular and facial schwannoma components via the translabyrinthine route in a patient with neurofibromatosis type 2. The facial nerve is reconstructed using a greater auricular nerve graft, and an auditory brainstem implant is placed. Prior to surgery the patient had no facial nerve function on the operative side and had lost useful hearing. He also had usable vision only on the ipsilateral side and had contralateral vocal cord paralysis.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/IOkEND-0vhI.

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Edwin A. Takahashi, Laurence J. Eckel, Felix E. Diehn, Kara M. Schwartz, Christopher H. Hunt and David J. Daniels

Cervical pseudomeningocele is a rare complication of trauma. It develops when an extradural collection of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) develops after a dural breach. The authors present the unusual case of a 33-year-old man with progressive headache, neck pain, mental status changes, and cardiopulmonary instability after polytrauma sustained from a motorcycle-versus-deer collision, without improvement during a 5-day hospitalization. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a collection of CSF anterior to the cervical thecal sac compatible with an anterior cervical pseudomeningocele. A nontargeted epidural blood patch was performed with subsequent resolution of the patient's symptoms. Anterior cervical pseudomeningoceles are usually asymptomatic; however, these lesions can cause orthostatic headaches, neck pain, and cardiopulmonary compromise, as it did in the featured patient. Pseudomeningoceles should be included in the differential diagnosis for posttrauma patients with progressive neurological decline or postural headache, and blood patch may be an effective minimally invasive treatment.

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Shaan M. Raza, Angela M. Donaldson, Alpesh Mehta, Apostolos J. Tsiouris, Vijay K. Anand and Theodore H. Schwartz

Object

Because multiple anatomical compartments are involved, the surgical management of trigeminal schwannomas requires a spectrum of cranial base approaches. The endoscopic endonasal approach to Meckel's cave provides a minimal access corridor for surgery, but few reports have assessed outcomes of the procedure or provided guidelines for case selection.

Methods

A prospectively acquired database of 680 endoscopic endonasal cases was queried for trigeminal schwannoma cases. Clinical charts, radiographic images, and long-term outcomes were reviewed to determine outcome and success in removing tumor from each compartment traversed by the trigeminal nerve.

Results

Four patients had undergone endoscopic resection of trigeminal schwannomas via the transpterygoid approach (mean follow-up 37 months). All patients had disease within Meckel's cave, and 1 patient had extension into the posterior fossa. Gross-total resection was achieved in 3 patients whose tumors were purely extracranial. One patient with combined Meckel's cave and posterior fossa tumor had complete resection of the extracranial disease and 52% resection of the posterior fossa disease. One patient with posterior fossa disease experienced a sixth cranial nerve palsy in addition to a corneal keratopathy from worsened trigeminal neuropathy. There were no CSF leaks. Over the course of the study, 1 patient with subtotal resection required subsequent stereotactic radiosurgery for disease progression within the posterior fossa.

Conclusions

Endoscopic endonasal approaches appear to be well suited for trigeminal schwannomas restricted to Meckel's cave and/or extracranial segments of the nerve. Lateral transcranial skull base approaches should be considered for patients with posterior fossa disease. Further multiinstitutional studies will be necessary for adequate power to help determine relative indications between endoscopic and transcranial skull base approaches.

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Donald T. Stuss, Malcolm A. Binns, Fiona G. Carruth, Brian Levine, Clare E. Brandys, Richard J. Moulton, William G. Snow and Michael L. Schwartz

Object. The goal of this study was to characterize more fully the cognitive changes that occur during the period of acute recovery after traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Methods. The pattern of performance recovery on attention and memory tests was compared with the results of the Galveston Orientation and Amnesia Test (GOAT). Tests of memory and attention were administered serially to a hospitalized group of patients with TBI of varying severity. The tests differed in their level of complexity and/or requirement for more effortful or strategic processing. The authors found a regular pattern to recovery. As expected, ability to perform on simpler tests was recovered before performance on more effortful ones. The ability to recall three words freely after a 24-hour delay (the operational definition in this study of return to continuous memory) was recovered last, later than normal performance on the GOAT. Ability to perform simple attentional tasks was recovered before the less demanding memory task (recognition); ability to perform more complex attentional tasks was recovered before the free recall of three words after a 24-hour delay. This recovery of attention before memory was most notable and distinct in the group with mild TBI.

Conclusions. The period of recovery after TBI, which is currently termed posttraumatic amnesia, appears to be primarily a confusional state and should be labeled as such. The authors propose a new definition for this acute recovery period and argue that the term posttraumatic confusional state should be used, because it more appropriately and completely characterizes the early period of recovery after TBI.

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Michael A. Horgan, Gregory J. Anderson, Jordi X. Kellogg, Marc S. Schwartz, Sergey Spektor, Sean O. McMenomey and Johnny B. Delashaw

Object. The petrosal approach to the petroclival region has been used by a variety of authors in various ways and the terminology has become quite confusing. A systematic assessment of the benefits and limitations of each approach is also lacking. The authors classify their approach to the middle and upper clivus, review the applications for each, and test their hypotheses on a cadaver model by using frameless stereotactic guidance.

Methods. The petrosal approach to the upper and middle clivus is divided into four increasingly morbidity-producing steps: retrolabyrinthine, transcrusal (partial labyrinthectomy), transotic, and transcochlear approaches. Four latexinjected cadaveric heads (eight sides) underwent dissection in which frameless stereotactic guidance was used. An area of exposure 10 cm superficial to a central target (working area) was calculated. The area and length of clival exposure with each subsequent dissection was also calculated.

The retrolabyrinthine approach spares hearing and facial function but provides for only a small window of upper clival exposure. The view afforded by what we have called the transcrusal approach provides for up to four times this exposure. The transotic and transcochlear procedures, although producing more morbidity, add little in terms of a larger clival window. However, with each step, the surgical freedom for manipulation of instruments increases.

Conclusions. The petrosal approach to the upper and middle clivus is useful but should be used judiciously, because levels of morbidity can be high. The retrolabyrinthine approach has limited utility. For tumors without bone invasion, the transcrusal approach provides a much more versatile exposure with an excellent chance of hearing and facial nerve preservation. The transotic approach provides for greater versatility in treating lesions but clival exposure is not greatly enhanced. Transcochlear exposure adds little in terms of intradural exposure and should be reserved for cases in which access to the petrous carotid artery is necessary.

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Kunal S. Patel, Ricardo J. Komotar, Oszkar Szentirmai, Nelson Moussazadeh, Daniel M. Raper, Robert M. Starke, Vijay K. Anand and Theodore H. Schwartz

Object

Endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery is expanding in acceptance, yet postoperative CSF leak rates remain a concern. This study presents the Cornell closure protocol, which has yielded significantly lower postoperative CSF leak rates compared with prior reports, as an algorithm that can be used by centers having difficulty with CSF leak.

Methods

A single closure algorithm for endoscopic surgery has been used since January 2010 at Weill Cornell Medical College. A prospective database noting intraoperative CSF leak, closure technique, and postoperative CSF leak was reviewed. The authors used a MEDLINE search to identify similar studies and compared CSF leak rates to those of patients treated using the Cornell algorithm.

Results

The retrospective study of a prospectively acquired database included 209 consecutive patients. In 84 patients (40%) there was no intraoperative CSF leak and no postoperative CSF leak. In the 125 patients (60%) with an intraoperative CSF leak, 35 of them with high-flow leaks, there were 0 (0%) postoperative CSF leaks.

Conclusions

It is possible to achieve a CSF leak rate of 0% by using this closure protocol. With proper experience, endoscopic skull base surgery should not be considered to have a higher CSF leak rate than open transcranial or microscopic transsphenoidal surgery.

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Collin C. Tebo, Alexander I. Evins, Paul J. Christos, Jennifer Kwon and Theodore H. Schwartz

Object

Surgical interventions for medically refractory epilepsy are effective in selected patients, but they are underutilized. There remains a lack of pooled data on complication rates and their changes over a period of multiple decades. The authors performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of reported complications from intracranial epilepsy surgery from 1980 to 2012.

Methods

A literature search was performed to find articles published between 1980 and 2012 that contained at least 2 patients. Patients were divided into 3 groups depending on the procedure they underwent: A) temporal lobectomy with or without amygdalohippocampectomy, B) extratemporal lobar or multilobar resections, or C) invasive electrode placement. Articles were divided into 2 time periods, 1980–1995 and 1996–2012.

Results

Sixty-one articles with a total of 5623 patients met the study's eligibility criteria. Based on the 2 time periods, neurological deficits decreased dramatically from 41.8% to 5.2% in Group A and from 30.2% to 19.5% in Group B. Persistent neurological deficits in these 2 groups decreased from 9.7% to 0.8% and from 9.0% to 3.2%, respectively. Wound infections/meningitis decreased from 2.5% to 1.1% in Group A and from 5.3% to 1.9% in Group B. Persistent neurological deficits were uncommon in Group C, although wound infections/meningitis and hemorrhage/hematoma increased over time from 2.3% to 4.3% and from 1.9% to 4.2%, respectively. These complication rates are additive in patients undergoing implantation followed by resection.

Conclusions

Complication rates have decreased dramatically over the last 30 years, particularly for temporal lobectomy, but they remain an unavoidable consequence of epilepsy surgery. Permanent neurological deficits are rare following epilepsy surgery compared with the long-term risks of intractable epilepsy.