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Jean Régis, Christine Delsanti and Pierre-Hugues Roche

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Douglas Kondziolka

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J. Kenneth Burkus, Kevin Foley, Regis Haid and Jean-Charles LeHuec

The authors present their radiographic criteria for assessing fusion of the lumbar spine after anterior interbody fusion with intradiscal implants. These criteria include the assessment of plain radiographs, dynamic motion radiographs, and thin-cut computerized tomography scans. Fusion within the instrumented spinal motion segment can be determined using radiographic evaluation to assess spinal alignment on sequential examinations, angular and translational changes on dynamic motion studies, and device–host interface, and to identify new bone formation and bone remodeling. Finally, to aid the clinician in assessing fusion, the authors describe the five zones of fusion within the intervertebral disc space.

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Shoji Yomo, Yasser Arkha, Anne Donnet and Jean Régis

Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) is widely recognized as an effective, minimally invasive treatment for intractable trigeminal neuralgia, but the role of GKS in glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GPN) remains unclear. This study involved 2 patients with medically intractable GPN who were treated using GKS. One patient required 2 treatments because of a recurrence of symptoms (at maximum doses of 60 and 70 Gy), and the other patient had a single intervention (at a maximum dose of 75 Gy). The GKS target was the distal part of the glossopharyngeal nerve. Patients were investigated prospectively, treated, and then assessed periodically with respect to pain relief and neurological function. Complete pain relief was achieved initially after all 3 interventions. The first patient was pain free without medication for 2 months after the first treatment (60 Gy) and for 4 months after the second treatment (70 Gy). The second patient (treated with 75 Gy) was still pain free without medication at the last follow-up (12 months). Neither patient had any neurological complications. The initial response of GPN to low-dose GKS was favorable, but symptoms may recur. No adverse neurological effects were observed in any of the lower cranial nerves. It will be necessary to investigate the optimal radiation dose and target of GKS for achieving long-term pain relief in GPN.

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Nicolas Massager, Jean Régis, Douglas Kondziolka, Théodore Njee and Marc Levivier

Object. This study was undertaken to assess the efficacy and safety of gamma knife radiosurgery (GKS) for the treatment of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) located within the brainstem.

Methods. The results of GKS performed in 87 patients with brainstem AVMs at two centers with experienced physicians are reviewed. The mean patient age was 37 years and the population included 19 children. The male/female ratio was 56:31. The malformation was located in the upper brainstem in 52 patients. Seventy-four percent of the patients had suffered a hemorrhage before GKS. For 70% of the patients no other treatment had been proposed before GKS. The mean AVM volume was 1.3 cm3. The lesions were treated with one to eight isocenters, with a margin dose ranging between 11.5 Gy and 30 Gy. The mean clinical follow-up period was 3.2 years. Ninety-five percent of the patients improved or remained neurologically stable. Rebleeding occurred in three patients at 3, 6, and 16 months, respectively, after GKS. Two patients in whom rebleeding occured recovered, and one died. The AVM obliteration rate was 63% at 2 years and 73% at 3 years after GKS. A second GKS was performed in six patients in whom only partial obliteration was demonstrated on angiography 3 years after the first procedure.

Conclusions. Gamma knife radiosurgery may be a valuable first-choice therapy for the treatment of AVMs located within the brainstem.

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Constantin Tuleasca, Romain Carron, Noémie Resseguier, Anne Donnet, Philippe Roussel, Jean Gaudart, Marc Levivier and Jean Régis

Object

The purpose of this study was to establish the safety and efficacy of repeat Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) for recurrent trigeminal neuralgia (TN).

Methods

Using the prospective database of TN patients treated with GKS in Timone University Hospital (Marseille, France), data were analyzed for 737 patients undergoing GKS for TN Type 1 from July 1992 to November 2010. Among the 497 patients with initial pain cessation, 34.4% (157/456 with ≥ 1-year follow-up) experienced at least 1 recurrence. Thirteen patients (1.8%) were considered for a second GKS, proposed only if the patients had good and prolonged initial pain cessation after the first GKS, with no other treatment alternative at the moment of recurrence. As for the first GKS, a single 4-mm isocenter was positioned in the cisternal portion of the trigeminal nerve at a median distance of 7.6 mm (range 4–14 mm) anterior to the emergence of the nerve (retrogasserian target). A median maximum dose of 90 Gy (range 70–90 Gy) was delivered. Data for 9 patients with at least 1-year followup were analyzed. A systematic review of literature was also performed, and results are compared with those of the Marseille study.

Results

The median time to retreatment in the Marseille study was 72 months (range 12–125 months) and in the literature it was 17 months (range 3–146 months). In the Marseille study, the median follow-up period was 33.9 months (range 12–96 months), and 8 of 9 patients (88.9%) had initial pain cessation with a median of 6.5 days (range 1–180 days). The actuarial rate for new hypesthesia was 33.3% at 6 months and 50% at 1 year, which remained stable for 7 years. The actuarial probabilities of maintaining pain relief without medication at 6 months and 1 year were 100% and 75%, respectively, and remained stable for 7 years. The systematic review analyzed 20 peer-reviewed studies reporting outcomes for repeat GKS for recurrent TN, with a total of 626 patients. Both the selection of the cases for retreatment and the way of reporting outcomes vary widely among studies, with a median rate for initial pain cessation of 88% (range 60%–100%) and for new hypesthesia of 33% (range 11%–80%).

Conclusions

Results from the Marseille study raise the question of surgical alternatives after failed GKS for TN. The rates of initial pain cessation and recurrence seem comparable to, or even better than, those of the first GKS, according to different studies, but toxicity is much higher, both in the Marseille study and in the published data. Neither the Marseille study data nor literature data answer the 3 cardinal questions regarding repeat radiosurgery in recurrent TN: which patients to retreat, which target is optimal, and which dose to use.

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Jean Régis, Constantin Tuleasca, Noémie Resseguier, Romain Carron, Anne Donnet, Jean Gaudart and Marc Levivier

OBJECT

Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) is one of the surgical alternatives for the treatment of drug-resistant trigeminal neuralgia (TN). This study aims to evaluate the safety and efficacy of GKS in a large population of patients with TN with very long-term clinical follow-up.

METHODS

Between July 1992 and November 2010, 737 patients presenting with TN were treated using GKS. Data were collected prospectively and were further retrospectively evaluated at Timone University Hospital. The frequency and severity of pain, as well as trigeminal nerve function, were evaluated before GKS and regularly thereafter. Radiosurgery using the Gamma Knife (model B, C, 4C, or Perfexion) was performed with the help of both MR and CT targeting. A single 4-mm isocenter was positioned in the cisternal portion of the trigeminal nerve at a median distance of 7.6 mm (range 4–14 mm) anterior to the emergence of the nerve (retrogasserian target). A median maximum dose of 85 Gy (range 70–90 Gy) was prescribed.

RESULTS

The safety and efficacy are reported for 497 patients with medically refractory classical TN who were never previously treated by GKS and had a follow-up of at least 1 year. The median age in this series was 68.3 years (range 28.1–93.2 years). The median follow-up period was 43.8 months (range 12–174.4 months). Overall, 456 patients (91.75%) were initially pain free in a median time of 10 days (range 1–180 days). Their actuarial probabilities of remaining pain free without medication at 3, 5, 7, and 10 years were 71.8%, 64.9%, 59.7%, and 45.3%, respectively. One hundred fifty-seven patients (34.4%) who were initially pain free experienced at least 1 recurrence, with a median delay of onset of 24 months (range 0.6–150.1 months). However, the actuarial rate of maintaining pain relief without further surgery was 67.8% at 10 years. The hypesthesia actuarial rate at 5 years was 20.4% and at 7 years reached 21.1%, but remained stable until 14 years with a median delay of onset of 12 months (range 1–65 months). Very bothersome facial hypesthesia was reported in only 3 patients (0.6%).

CONCLUSIONS

Retrogasserian GKS proved to be safe and effective in the long term and in a very large number of patients. Even if the probability of long-lasting effects may be modest compared with microvascular decompression, the rarity of complications prompts discussion of using GKS as the pragmatic surgical first- or second-intention alternative for classical TN. However, a randomized trial, or at least a case-matched control study, would be required to compare with microvascular decompression.

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Shoji Yomo, Romain Carron, Jean-Marc Thomassin, Pierre-Hugues Roche and Jean Régis

Object

The aim of this study was to perform an accurate analysis of changes in hearing in patients with vestibular schwannoma (VS) who have undergone Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) and distinguish the impact of radiosurgery from the natural course of hearing deterioration due to the tumor itself.

Methods

This study was a retrospective review of prospectively collected patient data. A group of 154 patients with unilateral nonsurgically treated VS was conservatively monitored for more than 6 months and then treated with GKS between July 1997 and September 2005. They were followed up with serial clinical examination, MRI, and audiometry. The annual hearing decrease rate (AHDR) was measured before and after radiosurgery, and the possible prognostic factors for hearing preservation were investigated.

Results

The mean dose prescribed to the tumor margins was 12.1 Gy. The mean radiological follow-up period after GKS was 60 months (range 7–123 months). The tumor control rate was 94.8%, and 8 patients underwent subsequent intervention due to tumor progression. The mean audiological follow-up times before and after GKS were 22 and 52 months, respectively. The mean AHDRs before and after GKS were 5.39 dB/year (95% CI 3.31–7.47 dB/year) and 3.77 dB/year (95% CI 3.13–4.40 dB/year), respectively (p > 0.05). The mean pre- and post-GKS AHDRs in patients who initially had Gardner-Robertson (GR) Class I hearing were −0.57 dB/year (95% CI −2.95 to 1.81 dB/year) and 3.59 dB/year (95% CI 2.52–4.65 dB/year), respectively (p = 0.007). The mean pre- and post-GKS AHDRs in patients who initially had GR Class II hearing were 5.09 dB/year (95% CI 1.36–8.82 dB/year) and 4.98 dB/year (95% CI 3.86–6.10 dB/year), respectively (p > 0.05). A subgroup of 80 patients had both early and late post-intervention AHDR assessment (with early referring to the period from GKS to the assessment closest to the 2-year follow-up point and late referring to the period from that assessment to the most recent one); in these patients, the mean early post-GKS AHDR was 5.86 dB/year (95% CI 4.25–7.50 dB/year) and the mean late post-GKS AHDR was 1.86 dB/year (95% CI 0.77–2.96 dB/year) (p < 0.001). A maximum cochlear dose of less than 4 Gy was found to be the sole prognostic factor for hearing preservation.

Conclusions

The present study demonstrated the absence of an increase in AHDR after radiosurgery as compared with the preoperative AHDR. There was even a trend indicating a reduction in the annual hearing loss after radiosurgery over the long term. To fully elucidate a possible protective effect of radiosurgery, longer-term follow-up with a larger group of patients will be required.