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Saul F. Morales-Valero, Jamie J. Van Gompel, Ioannis Loumiotis and Giuseppe Lanzino

The surgical treatment of meningiomas located at the base of the anterior cranial fossa is often challenging, and the evolution of the surgical strategy to resect these tumors parallels the development of craniotomy, and neurosurgery in general, over the past century. Early successful operations to treat these tumors were pioneered by prominent figures such as Sir William Macewen and Francesco Durante. Following these early reports, Harvey Cushing made significant contributions, allowing a better understanding and treatment of meningiomas in general, but particularly those involving the anterior cranial base. Initially, large-sized unilateral or bilateral craniotomies were necessary to approach these deep-seated lesions. Technical advances such as the introduction of electrosurgery, the operating microscope, and refined microsurgical instruments allowed neurosurgeons to perform less invasive surgical procedures with better results. Today, a wide variety of surgical strategies, including endoscopic surgery and radiosurgery, are used to treat these tumors. In this review, the authors trace the evolution of craniotomy for anterior cranial fossa meningiomas.

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Brenton Nash, Matthew L. Carlson and Jamie J. Van Gompel

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to examine operative outcomes in cases of microvascular decompression (MVD) of cranial nerve (CN) VIII for tinnitus through a critical review of the literature.

METHODS

Forty-three English-language articles were gathered from PubMed and analyzed. In this review, two different case types were distinguished: 1) tinnitus-only symptomatology, which was defined as a patient with tinnitus with or without sensorineural hearing loss; and 2) mixed symptomatology, which was defined as tinnitus with symptoms of other CN dysfunction. This review reports outcomes of those with tinnitus-only symptoms.

RESULTS

Forty-three tinnitus-only cases were found in the literature with a 60% positive outcome rate following MVD. Analysis revealed a 5-year cutoff of preoperative symptom duration before which a good outcome can be predicted with 78.6% sensitivity, and after which a poor outcome can be predicted with 80% specificity.

CONCLUSIONS

As the 60% success rate is more promising than several other therapeutic options open to the chronic tinnitus sufferer, future research into this field is warranted.

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Editorial

Depth electrodes and outcome

Kim J. Burchiel

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Grant W. Mallory, Shanna Fang, Caterina Giannini, Jamie J. Van Gompel and Ian F. Parney

Object

Carcinoid tumors are rare and have generally been regarded as indolent neoplasms. Systemic disease is often incurable; however, patients may live years with this disease. Furthermore, metastatic brain lesions are extremely uncommon. As such, few series have examined outcomes and prognostic factors in those with brain involvement.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective review of patients who underwent primary treatment at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for metastatic carcinoid tumors to the brain between 1986 and 2011. Progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were analyzed using Kaplan-Meier statistics. Cox proportional hazards were used to determine predictors of survival.

Results

Fifteen patients underwent primary treatment for metastatic carcinoid tumors to the brain between 1986 and 2011. Their mean age was 58 ± 12 years. Eighty percent (n = 12) of patients underwent surgery, whereas 2 received stereotactic radiosurgery and 1 had whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) as the primary treatment. The median follow-up duration was 19 months (maximum 124 months). Systemic disease progression occurred in 73% and was the leading cause of death in known cases, while intracranial disease recurred in 40%. The median PFS and OS were 21 and 19 months, respectively. The use of adjuvant WBRT correlated with improved PFS (HR 0.15, CI 0.0074–0.95, p = 0.044). Those who underwent surgery as primary modalities trended toward longer progression-free intervals (p = 0.095), although this did not reach significance.

Conclusions

Metastatic carcinoid disease to the brain appears to have a worse prognosis than that of other extracranial metastases. Although there was a trend toward a survival advantage in patients who underwent surgery and WBRT, further study is needed to establish definitive treatment recommendations.

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Jamie J. Van Gompel, Giorgio Frank, Ernesto Pasquini, Matteo Zoli, Jason Hoover and Giuseppe Lanzino

Object

Transnasal endoscopic (TNE) approaches have been proposed for the resection of anterior cranial base meningiomas. The purpose of this article was to evaluate the results of endoscopic resection of anterior cranial fossa meningiomas by reviewing available published data in addition to the authors' experience with 13 cases.

Methods

The literature was searched via OVID to identify all available disaggregate data pertaining to anterior fossa meningiomas treated primarily by TNE. In addition, the authors reviewed the records of a personal series of 13 patients who underwent TNE removal of parasellar meningiomas through a pure TNE approach.

Results

Meta-analysis from studies included a total of 69 patients with adequate disaggregated data to summarize. Mean age (± SD) at surgery was 53.3 ± 13.0 years (range 27–80 years); 78% of the patients were women. Tumor size was skewed toward smaller lesions, with a mean volume of 24.4 ± 2.9 cm3. Intraoperative impressions were of gross-total resection in 76% of cases. The most common complication reported was CSF leakage, occurring in 32% of the cases (22 of 69). The rate of CSF leakage was not affected by size (p = 0.52), location of tumor (p = 0.9), or age (p = 0.56). There was 1 death overall. The mean duration of follow-up was 21 ± 18 months.

Conclusions

Transnasal endoscopic resection of anterior cranial base meningiomas is feasible in selected cases. Reported resection rates are adequate, although the follow-up in the reported series is too short (mean 21 months) to make definitive conclusions regarding the long-term effectiveness. Cerebrospinal fluid leakage is a common complication, although it appears not to be associated with additional morbidity except for the need for reoperation. Long-term results are necessary before considering TNE resection as a valid alternative, in selected cases, to the more established transcranial techniques.

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Jamie J. Van Gompel, W. Richard Marsh, Fredric B. Meyer and Gregory A. Worrell

Object

Microsurgical resection of supratentorial cavernomas associated with intractable epilepsy is performed frequently. Despite its common occurrence, little is known about patient perceptions of microsurgical resection for cavernomas. This survey study was performed to investigate patient perceived outcome after surgery for cavernomas associated with intractable epilepsy.

Methods

The authors' surgical database was searched for cavernoma resection performed between 1971 and July of 2006. Of the initial 173 patients identified, 102 met criteria for medically intractable seizures. These 102 patients were then mailed a survey to determine follow-up and patient satisfaction. Thirty-nine surveys were returned as undeliverable, and 30 (48%) of the remaining 63 patients responded.

Results

The average age at surgery for patients responding to this survey was 40 ± 16 years compared with 35 ± 15 years for all 102 patients. At prolonged follow-up, 87% of patients reported being seizure-free. Of those with seizures, 2 (7%) reported being nearly seizure-free (rare disabling seizures), 2 (7%) believed they had a worthwhile improvement in seizure frequency, and no patient (0%) in this series believed they did not have a worthwhile improvement in seizure frequency. Ninety percent of responders stated they definitely, and 10% probably, would have surgery again. No patient responded that they probably or definitely would not have epilepsy surgery. Mean clinical follow-up was 36 ± 8 months and survey follow-up was 97 ± 13 months for these 30 patients. Use of the mail-in survey increased follow-up length 2.7 times longer compared with clinical follow-up.

Conclusions

It is clear from this select group of survey responders that patients undergoing surgery for cavernomas associated with medically intractable epilepsy are happy they underwent surgery (100%) and had excellent surgical outcomes (87% seizure-free) at prolonged follow-up of 97 ± 13 months. These survey results support that microsurgical resection for cavernomas is highly effective and significantly improves these patients' quality of life.

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Jamie J. Van Gompel, Todd B. Nippoldt, Dominique M. Higgins and Fredric B. Meyer

Object

Obesity as a consequence of management of pediatric craniopharyngioma is a well-described phenomenon related to the degree of hypothalamic involvement. However, weight change and obesity have not been analyzed in adult patients. Therefore, the purpose of this study was 1) to evaluate the pattern of postoperative weight gain related to preoperative body mass index (BMI), 2) determine if postoperative weight gain is an issue in adult patients, and 3) develop an objective MR imaging grading system to predict risk of postoperative weight gain and obesity in adults treated for craniopharyngioma.

Methods

The authors retrospectively screened 296 patients with known craniopharyngioma for the following inclusion criteria: pathologically confirmed craniopharyngioma, index surgery at the authors' institution, and operative weight and height recorded with at least 3 months of follow-up including body weight measurement. Patients aged 18 years or younger were excluded, yielding 28 cases for analysis. Cases of craniopharyngiomas were compared with age- and sex-matched controls (pituitary adenoma patients) to evaluate the pattern and significance of perioperative weight changes.

Results

Mean age was 46 ± 17 years at surgery, and 64% of the patients were male. Complete resection was achieved in 71% of cases. There was no correlation of preoperative BMI and postoperative weight gain testing in a linear model. Sixty-one percent and 46% of patients had postoperative weight gains greater than 4 and 9%, respectively.

Comparing craniopharyngioma patients (cases) to age- and sex-matched controls, the preoperative BMIs were similar (p = 0.93) between cases (mean 28.9 [95% CI 30.9–26.9]) and controls (mean 29.3 [95% CI 31.9–26.7]). However, there was a trend to a greater mean postoperative weight change (percentage) in cases (10.1%) than in controls (5.6%) (p = 0.24). Hypothalamic T2 signal change and irregular contrast enhancement correlated and predicted higher-grade hypothalamic involvement. Furthermore, they can be used to objectively grade hypothalamic involvement as the authors propose. Progressive hypothalamic involvement correlated with larger postoperative weight gains (p = 0.022); however, hypothalamic involvement did not correlate with preoperative BMI (p = 0.5).

Conclusions

Postoperative weight gain in adult patients undergoing surgery for craniopharyngioma is a significant problem and correlates with hypothalamic involvement, as it does in pediatric patients. Finally, objective MR imaging criteria can be used to predict risk of postoperative weight gain and aid in grading of hypothalamic involvement.

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Saul F. Morales-Valero, Elena Serchi, Matteo Zoli, Diego Mazzatenta and Jamie J. Van Gompel

OBJECT

The transoral approach is the gold standard for ventral decompression of the brainstem caused by craniovertebral junction (CVJ) pathology. This approach is often associated with significant morbidity, related to swallowing and respiratory complications. The endoscopic endonasal approach was introduced to reduce the rate of these complications. However, the exact role of this approach in the treatment of CVJ pathology is not well defined.

METHODS

A comprehensive literature search was performed to identify series of patients with pathology of the CVJ treated via the endoscopie endonasal approach. Data on patient characteristics, indications for treatment, complications, and outcome were obtained and analyzed.

RESULTS

Twelve studies involving 72 patients were included. The most common indications for treatment were rheumatoid pannus (38.9%) and basilar invagination (29.2%). Cerebrospinal fluid leak was found in 18% of cases intraoperatively and 4.2% of cases postoperatively. One case of meningitis complicated by sepsis and death represents the procedure-related mortality of 1.4%. Of the patients without preoperative swallowing impairment, 95% returned to oral feeding on the 3rd postoperative day. Ninety-three percent of patients experienced improvement in neurological symptoms after the procedure.

CONCLUSIONS

The endonasal endoscopie approach is effective for the treatment of neural compression caused by CVJ pathology. It offers advantages such as lower rates of postoperative dysphagia and respiratory complications when compared with the more traditional transoral approach. However, these 2 approaches should be seen as complementary rather than alternatives. Patient-related factors as well as the surgeon’s expertise must be considered when making treatment decisions.

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Dominique M. Higgins, Jamie J. Van Gompel, Todd B. Nippoldt and Fredric B. Meyer

Object

Rathke cleft cysts (RCCs) are benign masses arising from the embryological Rathke pouch, and are commonly treated by transsphenoidal surgery. The authors retrospectively compared RCC extent of resection—either gross-total resection (GTR) or decompression—to the primary outcome measure, which was recurrences resulting in repeat surgery, and the secondary outcome measure, which was complications.

Methods

Seventy-four patients presenting to the neurosurgical department with RCC were analyzed retrospectively. Sixty-eight patients had a total of 78 surgical procedures, with the diagnosis of RCC confirmed by histological investigation; of these, 61 patients had adequate operative notes for the authors to evaluate extent of resection. Groups were separated into GTR (32 patients) or decompression (subtotal resection or fenestration into the sphenoid sinus; 29 patients) based on operative notes and postoperative imaging. The mean follow-up duration was 60.5 ± 72.1 months (the mean is expressed ± SD throughout).

Results

The average age at the time of the initial surgery was 42.8 ± 17.4 years, and 70% of patients were female. The mean cyst diameter preoperatively was 16.9 ± 17.8 mm. Eight patients had repeat surgery, our primary outcome measure; 3 repeat operations occurred in the GTR group, and 5 in the decompression group. There was no significant difference in recurrence when comparing groups (GTR 9%, decompression 17%; p = 0.36). There were no major complications; however, analysis of postoperative minor complications revealed that 11 (34%) GTRs resulted in surgical complications, whereas the decompression cohort accounted for only 3 complications (10%) (p = 0.03), with diabetes insipidus (6) and CSF leaks (5) being the most common. Gross-total resection also resulted in an increase in postoperative hyperprolactinemia compared with decompression (p = 0.03).

Conclusions

It appears that RCCs require repeat surgery in 13% of cases, and attempted GTR does not appear to reduce the overall rate of recurrence. However, more aggressive resections are associated with more complications in this series.