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Marie T. Krüger, Christine Steiert, Sven Gläsker, and Jan-Helge Klingler

OBJECTIVE

Hemangioblastomas are benign, highly vascularized tumors that can occur sporadically or as part of von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease. Traditionally, spinal hemangioblastomas have been surgically treated via an open approach. In recent years, however, minimally invasive techniques using tubular retractors have been increasingly applied in spine surgery. Such procedures involve less tissue trauma but are also particularly demanding for the surgeon, especially in cases of highly vascular tumors such as hemangioblastomas. The object of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of minimally invasive resection of selected spinal hemangioblastomas.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective single-center study of all patients who, between January 2010 and January 2018, had been operated on for spinal hemangioblastoma via a minimally invasive approach performed at the surgeon’s discretion. The surgical technique is described and the pre- and postoperative neurological and imaging results were analyzed descriptively. The primary outcome was the postoperative compared to preoperative neurological condition (McCormick grade). The secondary outcomes were the extent of tumor resection and postoperative complications.

RESULTS

Eighteen patients, 12 female and 6 male, harboring a total of 19 spinal hemangioblastomas underwent surgery in the study period. Seventeen patients had stable neurological findings with stable or improved McCormick grades (94.5%) at a mean of 4.3 months after surgery. One (5.5%) of the 18 patients developed progressive neurological symptoms with a worsened McCormick grade that did not improve in the long-term follow-up. Sixteen of the 18 patients had VHL disease, whereas 2 patients had sporadic spinal hemangioblastomas. In all patients, postoperative MRI showed complete resection of the tumors. No other surgery-related perioperative or postoperative complications were recorded.

CONCLUSIONS

A minimally invasive approach for the resection of selected spinal hemangioblastomas is safe and allows complete tumor resection with good clinical results in experienced hands.

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Ulrich Hubbe, Pamela Franco-Jimenez, Jan-Helge Klingler, Ioannis Vasilikos, Christoph Scholz, and Evangelos Kogias

OBJECT

The aim of the study was to investigate the safety and efficacy of minimally invasive tubular microdiscectomy for the treatment of recurrent lumbar disc herniation (LDH). As opposed to endoscopic techniques, namely microendoscopic and endoscopic transforaminal discectomy, this microscopically assisted technique has never been used for the treatment of recurrent LDH.

METHODS

Thirty consecutive patients who underwent minimally invasive tubular microdiscectomy for recurrent LDH were included in the study. The preoperative and postoperative visual analog scale (VAS) scores for pain, the clinical outcome according to modified Macnab criteria, and complications were analyzed retrospectively. The minimum follow-up was 1.5 years. Student t-test with paired samples was used for the statistical comparison of pre- and postoperative VAS scores. A p value < 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant.

RESULTS

The mean operating time was 90 ± 35 minutes. The VAS score for leg pain was significantly reduced from 5.9 ± 2.1 preoperatively to 1.7 ± 1.3 postoperatively (p < 0.001). The overall success rate (excellent or good outcome according to Macnab criteria) was 90%. Incidental durotomy occurred in 5 patients (16.7%) without neurological consequences, CSF fistula, or negative influence to the clinical outcome. Instability occurred in 2 patients (6.7%).

CONCLUSIONS

The clinical outcome of minimally invasive tubular microdiscectomy is comparable to the reported success rates of other minimally invasive techniques. The dural tear rate is not associated to higher morbidity or worse outcome. The technique is an equally effective and safe treatment option for recurrent LDH.

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Evangelos Kogias, Ronen Sircar, Jan-Helge Klingler, Martin Hermann Deininger, and Ulrich Hubbe

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Jan-Helge Klingler, Marie Therese Krüger, Evangelos Kogias, Stefanie M. Brendecke, Ulrich Hubbe, and Christian Scheiwe

Malignant meningiomas are a rare but aggressive subset of intracranial meningiomas leading to a very limited life expectancy. The occurrence of spinal metastases in these tumors is an even rarer event. The described patient had an intracranial malignant meningioma and developed a symptomatic osteolytic contrast-enhancing lesion in the left C-1 lateral mass suspicious for metastasis. The authors performed a minimally invasive posterior resection of the lesion with vertebroplasty of C-1. Histopathology verified metastasis of the malignant meningioma. The surgical procedure resulted in prompt and permanent pain reduction until the patient died 18 months later. Given the very limited life expectancy in this case, the authors did not consider occipitocervical fusion because of their desire to preserve the range of motion of the head. Therefore, they suggest minimally invasive tumor resection and vertebroplasty in selected palliative tumor patients.

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Jan-Helge Klingler, Ulrich Hubbe, Christoph Scholz, Florian Volz, Marc Hohenhaus, Ioannis Vasilikos, Waseem Masalha, Ralf Watzlawick, and Yashar Naseri

OBJECTIVE

Intraoperative 3D imaging and navigation is increasingly used for minimally invasive spine surgery. A novel, noninvasive patient tracker that is adhered as a mask on the skin for 3D navigation necessitates a larger intraoperative 3D image set for appropriate referencing. This enlarged 3D image data set can be acquired by a state-of-the-art 3D C-arm device that is equipped with a large flat-panel detector. However, the presumably associated higher radiation exposure to the patient has essentially not yet been investigated and is therefore the objective of this study.

METHODS

Patients were retrospectively included if a thoracolumbar 3D scan was performed intraoperatively between 2016 and 2019 using a 3D C-arm with a large 30 × 30–cm flat-panel detector (3D scan volume 4096 cm3) or a 3D C-arm with a smaller 20 × 20–cm flat-panel detector (3D scan volume 2097 cm3), and the dose area product was available for the 3D scan. Additionally, the fluoroscopy time and the number of fluoroscopic images per 3D scan, as well as the BMI of the patients, were recorded.

RESULTS

The authors compared 62 intraoperative thoracolumbar 3D scans using the 3D C-arm with a large flat-panel detector and 12 3D scans using the 3D C-arm with a small flat-panel detector. Overall, the 3D C-arm with a large flat-panel detector required more fluoroscopic images per scan (mean 389.0 ± 8.4 vs 117.0 ± 4.6, p < 0.0001), leading to a significantly higher dose area product (mean 1028.6 ± 767.9 vs 457.1 ± 118.9 cGy × cm2, p = 0.0044).

CONCLUSIONS

The novel, noninvasive patient tracker mask facilitates intraoperative 3D navigation while eliminating the need for an additional skin incision with detachment of the autochthonous muscles. However, the use of this patient tracker mask requires a larger intraoperative 3D image data set for accurate registration, resulting in a 2.25 times higher radiation exposure to the patient. The use of the patient tracker mask should thus be based on an individual decision, especially taking into considering the radiation exposure and extent of instrumentation.

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Ulrich Hubbe, Jan-Helge Klingler, Roland Roelz, Christoph Scholz, Katerina Argiti, Panagiotis Fistouris, Jürgen Beck, and Ioannis Vasilikos

OBJECTIVE

A major challenge of a minimally invasive spinal approach (MIS) is maintaining freedom of maneuverability through small operative corridors. Unfortunately, during tubular resection of intradural pathologies, the durotomy and its accompanying tenting sutures offer a smaller operating window than the maximum surface of the tube’s base. The objective of this study was to evaluate if a novel double tubular technique could expand the surgical visual field during MIS resection of intradural pathologies.

METHODS

A total of 25 MIS resections of intradural extramedullary pathologies were included. A posterior tubular interlaminar fenestration was performed in all surgeries. A durotomy covering the whole diameter of the tubular base was the standard in all cases. After placement of two tenting sutures on each side of the durotomy and application of tension, the resulting surface of the achieved dura fenestration was measured after optical analysis of the intraoperative video. In the next step, a second tube, 2 mm thinner than and the same length as the first, was inserted telescopically into the first tube, resulting an angulated fulcrum effect on the tenting sutures.

RESULTS

Optical surface analysis of the dura fenestration before and after the second tubular insertion verified a significant widening of the visual field of 43.1% (mean 18.84 mm2, 95% CI 16.8–20.8, p value < 0.001). There were no ruptured tenting sutures through the increased tension. Postoperative MRIs verified complete resection of the pathologies.

CONCLUSIONS

Inserting a second tube telescopically during posterior minimally invasive tubular spinal intradural surgery leads to an angulated fulcrum effect on the dura tenting sutures which consequently increases the surface of the dura fenestration and induces a meaningful widening of the visual field.

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Xin-Ben Hu, Feng-Jie Zhu, Fang Shen, Guang-Yu Ying, and Yong-Jian Zhu

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Jürgen Beck, Ulrich Hubbe, Jan-Helge Klingler, Roland Roelz, Luisa Mona Kraus, Florian Volz, Niklas Lützen, Horst Urbach, Kristin Kieselbach, and Christian Fung

OBJECTIVE

Spinal CSF leaks cause spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH). Surgical closure of spinal CSF leaks is the treatment of choice for persisting leaks. Surgical approaches vary, and there are no studies in which minimally invasive techniques were used. In this study, the authors aimed to detail the safety and feasibility of minimally invasive microsurgical sealing of spinal CSF leaks using nonexpandable tubular retractors.

METHODS

Consecutive patients with SIH and a confirmed spinal CSF leak treated at a single institution between April 2019 and December 2020 were included in the study. Surgery was performed via a dorsal 2.5-cm skin incision using nonexpandable tubular retractors and a tailored interlaminar fenestration and, if needed, a transdural approach. The primary outcome was successful sealing of the dura, and the secondary outcome was the occurrence of complications.

RESULTS

Fifty-eight patients, 65.5% of whom were female (median age 46 years [IQR 36–55 years]), with 38 ventral leaks, 17 lateral leaks, and 2 CSF venous fistulas were included. In 56 (96.6%) patients, the leak could be closed, and in 2 (3.4%) patients the leak was missed because of misinterpretation of the imaging studies. One of these patients underwent successful reoperation, and the other patient decided to undergo surgery at another institution. Two other patients had to undergo reoperation because of insufficient closure and a persisting leak. The rate of permanent neurological deficit was 1.7%, the revision rate for a persisting or recurring leak was 3.4%, and the overall revision rate was 10.3%. The rate of successful sealing during the primary closure attempt was 96.6% and 3.4% patients needed a secondary attempt. Clinical short-term outcome at discharge was unchanged in 14 patients and improved in 25 patients, and 19 patients had signs of rebound intracranial hypertension.

CONCLUSIONS

Minimally invasive surgery with tubular retractors and a tailored interlaminar fenestration and, if needed, a transdural approach is safe and effective for the treatment of spinal CSF leaks. The authors suggest performing a minimally invasive closure of spinal CSF leaks in specialized centers.