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Jeffrey N. Bruce and Samuel S. Bruce

Object. Management of postcraniotomy wound infections has traditionally consisted of operative debridement and removal of devitalized bone flaps followed by delayed cranioplasty. The authors report the highly favorable results of a prospective study in which postcraniotomy wound infections were managed with surgical debridement to preserve the bone flaps and avoid cranioplasty.

Methods. Since 1990, 13 patients with postcraniotomy wound infections have been prospectively treated with open surgical debridement and replacement of the bone flap. All patients received a full course of systemic antibiotic agents based on the determination of the bacterial culture and antibiotic sensitivity. Notable risk factors for infection included prior craniotomies, radiotherapy, and skull base procedures. The mean long-term follow-up period was 35 × 20 months. In all five patients who underwent craniotomies without complications, bone flap preservation was possible with full resolution of the infection and without the need for additional surgery. Among the eight patients with risk factors, bone preservation was possible in six patients, although two required minor wound revisions (without bone flap removal). Both patients who underwent craniofacial procedures required an additional procedure in which the bone flap was removed for recurrent infection (one after 2 months and the other after 29 months).

Conclusions. In patients with uncomplicated postcraniotomy infections, simple operative debridement is sufficient and it is not necessary to discard the bone flaps and perform cranioplasties. Even patients with risk factors such as prior surgery or radiotherapy can usually be treated using this strategy. Patients who undergo craniofacial surgeries involving the nasal sinuses are at higher risk and may require bone flap removal.

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Fredric B. Meyer and Jeffrey N. Bruce

This edition of the Video Supplement entitled “Microsurgery of the Third Ventricle, Pineal Region, and Tentorial Incisura” highlights approaches to accessing the third ventricle for surgical resection of a variety of pathologies. The third ventricle has critical neurovascular anatomy that must always be respected to prevent patient harm. Visualization of critical anatomy in three dimensions from a surgeon' line of sight is important when planning the optimum surgical approach. Some of the keys to safely operating in this region include thoughtful head positioning, limitation of brain retraction, and the use of trajectories which capitalize on CSF cisterns and fissures. Some of the videos included in this volume illustrate standard operations while others depict more unique and innovative approaches that take advantage of these surgical windows. We hope you enjoy the videos included in this supplement.

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Jeffrey Leonard and Bruce Kaufman

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Alan P. Lozier and Jeffrey N. Bruce

Meningiomas of the third ventricle are a rare subtype of pineal region tumor that arise from the posterior portion of the velum interpositum, the double layer of pia mater that forms the roof of the third ventricle. The authors review the literature concerning these meningiomas and present a case in which the lesion was resected via the supracerebellar–infratentorial approach. The relationship of the tumor to the deep venous system and the splenium of the corpus callosum guides the selection of the most advantageous surgical approach. Posterior displacement of the internal cerebral veins demonstrated on preoperative imaging provides a strong rationale for use of the supracerebellar–infratentorial approach.

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Daniel W. Fults, Thomas Chen and Jeffrey N. Bruce

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Timothy E. Link, Jeffrey E. Florman and Bruce I. Tranmer

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Anand I. Rughani, Bruce I. Tranmer, Jeffrey E. Florman and James T. Wilson

Accurate assessment of imaging studies in patients with ventriculoperitoneal shunts can be aided by empirical findings. The authors characterize an objective measurement easily performed on head CT scans with the goal of producing clear evidence of shunt fracture or disconnection in patients with a snap shunt–type system.

The authors describe 2 cases of ventriculoperitoneal shunt failure involving a fracture and a disconnection associated with a snap-shunt assembly. In both cases the initial clinical symptoms were not convincing for shunt malfunction, and the interpretation of the CT finding failed to immediately identify the abnormality. As the clinical picture became more convincing for shunt malfunction, each patient subsequently underwent successful shunt revision. The authors reviewed the CT scans of 10 patients with an intact and functioning snap-shunt system to characterize the normal appearance of the snap-shunt connection.

On CT scans the distance between the radiopaque portion of the ventricular catheter and the radiopaque portion of the reservoir dome measures an average of 4.72 mm (range 4.6–4.9 mm, 95% CI 4.63–4.81 mm). In the authors' patient with a fractured ventricular catheter, this interval measured 7.8 mm, and in the patient with a disconnection it measured 7.7 mm.

In comparison with the range of normal values, a radiolucent interval significantly greater than 4.9 mm should promptly raise concern for a disconnected or fractured shunt in this system. This measurement may prove particularly useful when serial imaging is not readily available.