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Amin B. Kassam, Johnathan A. Engh, Arlan H. Mintz and Daniel M. Prevedello

Object

The authors introduce a novel technique of intraparenchymal brain tumor resection using a rod lens endoscope and parallel instrumentation via a transparent conduit.

Methods

Over a 4-year period, 21 patients underwent completely endoscopic removal of a subcortical brain lesion by means of a transparent conduit. Image guidance was used to direct the cannulation and resection of all lesions. Postoperative MR imaging or CT was performed to assess for residual tumor in all patients, and all patients were followed up postoperatively to assess for new neurological deficits or other surgical complications.

Results

The histopathological findings were as follows: 12 metastases, 5 glioblastomas, 3 cavernous malformations, and 1 hemangioblastoma. Total radiographically confirmed resection was achieved in 8 cases, near-total in 6 cases, and subtotal in 7 cases. There were no perioperative deaths. Complications included 1 infection and 1 pulmonary embolus. There were no postoperative hematomas, no postoperative seizures, and no worsened neurological deficits in the immediate postoperative period.

Conclusions

Fully endoscopic resection may be a technically feasible method of resection for selected subcortical masses. Further experience with this technique will help to determine its applicability and safety.

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Paul A. Gardner, Johnathan Engh, Dave Atteberry and John J. Moossy

Object

External ventricular drain (EVD) placement is one of the most common neurosurgical procedures performed. Rates and significance of hemorrhage associated with this procedure have not been well quantified.

Methods

All adults who underwent EVD placement at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center between July 2002 and June 2003 were evaluated for catheter-associated hemorrhage. Patients without postprocedural imaging were excluded.

Results

Seventy-seven (41%) of 188 EVDs were associated with imaging evidence of hemorrhage after either placement or removal. Most of these were insignificant, punctate intraparenchymal, or trace subarachnoid hemorrhages (51.9%). Thirty-seven (19.7%) were associated with larger hemorrhages, which were divided into 3 groups according to volume of hemorrhage: 16 patients (8.5%) had < 15 ml of hemorrhage, 20 (10.6%) had hemorrhages of > 15 ml or associated intraventricular hemorrhage, and in 1 case there was a subdural hematoma that required surgical evacuation. No hemorrhages larger than punctate or trace were seen after EVD removal. Hemorrhage was associated with 44.3% of EVDs placed in an intensive care unit compared with 34.8% in EVDs placed in the operating room (p > 0.10).

Conclusions

External ventricular drain placement has a significant risk of associated hemorrhage. However, the hemorrhages are rarely large and almost never require surgical intervention. There is a favorable trend, but no significant risk reduction when EVDs are placed in the operating room rather than the intensive care unit.

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Pawel G. Ochalski, James T. Edinger, Michael B. Horowitz, William R. Stetler, Geoffrey H. Murdoch, Amin B. Kassam and Johnathan A. Engh

Angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma (AFH) is a rare soft-tissue neoplasm that most commonly appears in the limbs, typically affecting children and young adults. The tumor has a propensity for local recurrence and recurrent hemorrhage but rarely for remote metastasis. To date, only 2 reports have documented an intracranial occurrence of the tumor (1 of which was believed to be metastatic disease). This is the second report of primary intracranial AFH. Additionally, hemorrhage from an intracranial AFH lesion has yet to be reported, and little is known about the radiographic characteristics and biological behavior of these lesions. In this report, the authors describe the case of a patient with recurrent hemorrhage due to primary multifocal intracranial AFH. Initially misdiagnosed as a cavernous malformation and then an unusual meningioma, the tumor was finally correctly identified when there was a large enough intact resection specimen to reveal the characteristic histological pattern. The diagnosis was confirmed using immunohistochemical and molecular studies.

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Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Johnathan A. Engh, Sudhir K. Pathak, Ricky Madhok, Fernando E. Boada, Walter Schneider and Amin B. Kassam

The authors have applied high-definition fiber tracking (HDFT) to the resection of an intraparenchymal dermoid cyst by using a minimally invasive endoscopic port. The lesion was located within the mesial frontal lobe, septal area, hypothalamus, and suprasellar recess. Using high-dimensional (256 directions) diffusion imaging, more than 250,000 fiber tracts were imaged before and after surgery. Trajectory planning using HDFT in a computer model was used to facilitate cannulation of the cyst with the endoscopic port. Analysis of the proposed initial surgical route was overlaid onto the fiber tracts and was predicted to produce substantial disruption to prefrontal projection fibers (anterior limb of the internal capsule) and the cingulum. Adjustment of the cannulation entry point 1 cm medially was predicted to cross the corpus callosum instead of the anterior limb of the internal capsule or the cingulum. Following cyst resection performed using endoscopic port surgery, postoperative imaging demonstrated accurate cannulation of the lesion, with improved quantitative signal from both the anterior limb of the internal capsule and the cingulum. The observed fiber preservation from the cingulum and the anterior limb of the internal capsule, with minor injury to the corpus callosum, was in close agreement with preoperative trajectory modeling. Comparison of pre- and postoperative HDFT data facilitated quantification of the benefits and costs of the surgical trajectory. Future studies will help to determine whether HDFT combined with endoscopic port surgery facilitates anatomical and functional preservation in such challenging cases.

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Devin V. Amin, Karl Lozanne, Phillip V. Parry, Johnathan A. Engh, Kathleen Seelman and Arlan Mintz

Object

Image-guided frameless stereotactic techniques provide an alternative to traditional head-frame fixation in the performance of fine-needle biopsies. However, these techniques still require rigid head fixation, usually in the form of a head holder. The authors report on a series of fine-needle biopsies and brain abscess aspirations in which a frameless technique was used with a patient's head supported on a horseshoe headholder. To validate this technique, they performed an in vitro accuracy study.

Methods

Forty-eight patients underwent fine-needle biopsy of intracranial lesions that ranged in size from 0.9 to more than 107.7 ml; a fiducial-less, frameless, image-guided technique was used without rigid head fixation. In 1 of the 48 patients a cerebral abscess was drained. The accuracy study was performed with a skull phantom that was imaged with a CT scanner and tracked with a registration mask containing light-emitting diodes. The objective was a skin fiducial marker with a 4-mm circular target to accommodate the 2.5-mm biopsy needle. A series of 50 trials was conducted.

Results

Diagnostic tissue was obtained on the first attempt in 47 of 48 brain biopsy cases. In 2 cases small hemorrhages at the biopsy site were noted as a complication on the postoperative CT scan. One of these hemorrhages resulted in hand and arm weakness. The accuracy study demonstrated a 98% success rate of the biopsy needle passing through the 4-mm circular target using the registration mask as the registration and tracking device. This demonstrates a ± 0.75-mm tolerance on the targeting method.

Conclusions

The accuracy study demonstrated the ability of the mask to actively track the target and allow navigation to a 4-mm-diameter circular target with a 98% success rate. The frameless, pinless, fiducial-less technique described herein will likely be another safe, fast alternative to frame-based stereotactic techniques for fine-needle biopsy that avoids the potential morbidity of rigid head-pin fixation. Furthermore, it should lend itself to other image-guided applications such as the placement of ventricular catheters for shunting or Ommaya reservoirs.

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Srinivas Chivukula, Gregory M. Weiner and Johnathan A. Engh

Two key discoveries in the 19th century—infection control and the development of general anesthesia—provided an impetus for the rapid advancement of surgery, especially within the field of neurosurgery. Yet the field of neurosurgery would not have existed in the modern sense without the development and advancement of techniques in hemostasis. Improvement in intraoperative hemostasis came more gradually but was no less important to enhancing neurosurgical outcomes. The history of hemostasis in neurosurgery is often overlooked. Herein, the authors briefly review the historical progression of hemostatic techniques since the beginning of the early modern era of neurosurgery.

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Ronny Kalash, Scott M. Glaser, John C. Flickinger, Steven Burton, Dwight E. Heron, Peter C. Gerszten, Johnathan A. Engh, Nduka M. Amankulor and John A. Vargo

OBJECTIVE

Akin to the nonoperative management of benign intracranial tumors, stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) has emerged as a nonoperative treatment option for noninfiltrative primary spine tumors such as meningioma and schwannoma. The majority of initial series used higher doses of 16–24 Gy in 1–3 fractions. The authors hypothesized that lower doses (such as 12–13 Gy in 1 fraction) might provide an efficacy similar to that found with the dose de-escalation commonly used for intracranial radiosurgery to treat acoustic neuroma or meningioma and with a lower risk of toxicity.

METHODS

The authors identified 38 patients in a prospectively maintained institutional radiosurgery database who were treated with definitive SBRT for a total of 47 benign primary spine tumors between 2004 and 2016. SBRT consisted of 9–21 Gy in 1–3 fractions using the CyberKnife (n = 11 [23%]), Synergy S (n = 21 [45%]), or TrueBeam (n = 15 [32%]) radiosurgery platform. For a comparison of SBRT doses, patients were dichotomized into 1 of 2 groups (low-dose or high-dose SBRT) using a cutoff biologically effective dose (BED10Gy) of 30 Gy. Tumor control was calculated from the date of SBRT to the last follow-up using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis, with comparisons between groups completed using a log-rank method. To account for potential indication bias, a propensity score analysis was completed based on the conditional probabilities of SBRT dose selection. Toxicity was graded using Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events version 4.0 with a focus on grade 3+ toxicity and the incidence of pain flare.

RESULTS

For the 38 patients, the most common histological findings were meningioma (15 patients), schwannoma (13 patients), and hemangioblastoma (7 patients). The median age at SBRT was 58 years (range 25–91 years). The 47 treated lesions were located in the cervical (n = 18), thoracic (n = 19), or lumbosacral (n = 10) spine. Five (11%) lesions were lost to follow-up after SBRT. The median follow-up duration for the remaining 42 lesions was 54 months (range 1.2–133 months). Six (16%) patients (with a total of 8 lesions) experienced pain flare after SBRT; no significant predictor of pain flare was identified. No grade 3+ acute- or late-onset complication was noted. The 5-year local control rate was 76% (95% CI 61%–91%). No significant difference in local control according to dose, fractionation, previous radiation, surgery, tumor histology, age, treatment platform, planning target volume, or spine level treated was found. The 5-year local control rates for low- and high-dose treatments were 73% (95% CI 53%–93%) and 83% (95% CI 61%–100%) (p = 0.52). In propensity score–adjusted multivariable analysis, no difference in local control was identified (HR 0.30, 95% CI 0.02–5.40; p = 0.41).

CONCLUSIONS

Long-term follow-up of patients treated with SBRT for benign spinal lesions revealed no significant difference between low-dose (BED10Gy ≤ 30) and high-dose SBRT in local control, pain-flare rate, or long-term toxicity.