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Open access

Joshua S. Catapano, Rohin Singh, Visish M. Srinivasan, and Michael T. Lawton

Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) in the brainstem, specifically medullary AVMs, are exceedingly rare and difficult to treat. These lesions are commonly more aggressive than supratentorial AVMs and pose their own unique treatment challenges. Current treatment options for these AVMs consist of endovascular embolization or open surgery. Radiosurgery is not favored because it is associated with potential risk to the brainstem and lower obliteration rates. Here the authors report the case of a 27-year-old man with a ruptured anterior medullary AVM. The patient underwent a successful far-lateral craniotomy for resection of the AVM.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/lyOfOQ3sBdU

Free access

Fabio A. Frisoli, Joshua S. Catapano, Jacob F. Baranoski, and Michael T. Lawton

The anterior and posterior communicating arteries are natural connections between arteries that enable different adjacent circulations to redistribute blood flow instantly in response to changing supply and demand. An analogous communication does not exist in the middle cerebral circulation. A middle communicating artery (MCoA) can be created microsurgically between separate middle cerebral artery (MCA) trunks, enabling flow to redistribute in response to changing supply and demand. The MCoA would draw blood flow from an adjacent circulation such as the external carotid circulation. The MCoA requires the application of fourth-generation techniques to reconstruct bi- and trifurcations after occluding complex MCA trunk aneurysms. In this report, the authors describe two recent cases of complex MCA bi- and trifurcation aneurysms in which the occluded efferent trunks were revascularized by creating an MCoA.

The first MCoA was created with a “double-barrel” superficial temporal artery–M2 segment bypass and end-to-end reimplantation of the middle and inferior MCA trunks. The second MCoA was created with an external carotid artery–radial artery graft–M2 segment interpositional bypass and end-to-side reimplantation of the inferior trunk onto the superior trunk. Both aneurysms were occluded, and both patients experienced good outcomes.

This report introduces the concept of the MCoA and demonstrates two variations. Angioarchitectural and technical elements include the donation of flow from an adjacent circulation, a communicating bypass, the application of fourth-generation bypass techniques, and a minimized ischemia time. The MCoA construct is ideally suited for rebuilding bi- and trifurcated anatomy after trapping or distally occluding complex MCA aneurysms.

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Clinton D. Morgan, Gennadiy A. Katsevman, Jakub Godzik, Joshua S. Catapano, Courtney Hemphill, Jay D. Turner, and Juan S. Uribe

OBJECTIVE

Single-position prone lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) improves the efficiency of staged minimally invasive lumbar spine surgery. However, laterally approaching the lumbar spine, especially L4–5 with the patient in the prone position, could increase the risk of complications and presents unique challenges, including difficult ergonomics, psoas migration, and management of the nearby lumbar plexus. The authors sought to identify postoperative femoral neurapraxia after single-position prone LLIF at L4–5 to better understand how symptoms evolve over time.

METHODS

This retrospective analysis examined a prospectively maintained database of LLIF patients who were treated by two surgeons (J.S.U. and J.D.T.). Patients who underwent single-position prone LLIF at L4–5 and percutaneous pedicle screw fixation for lumbar stenosis or spondylolisthesis were included if they had at least 6 weeks of follow-up. Outpatient postoperative neurological symptoms were analyzed at 6-week, 3-month, and 6-month follow-up evaluations.

RESULTS

Twenty-nine patients (16 women [55%]; overall mean ± SD age 62 ± 11 years) met the inclusion criteria. Five patients (17%) experienced complications, including 1 (3%) who had a femoral nerve injury with resultant motor weakness. The mean ± SD transpsoas retractor time was 14.6 ± 6.1 minutes, the directional anterior electromyography (EMG) threshold before retractor placement was 20.1 ± 10.2 mA, and the directional posterior EMG threshold was 10.4 ± 9.1 mA. All patients had 6-week clinical follow-up evaluations. Ten patients (34%) reported thigh pain or weakness at their 6-week follow-up appointment, compared with 3/27 (11%) at 3 months and 1/20 (5%) at 6 months. No association was found between directional EMG threshold and neurapraxia, but longer transpsoas retractor time at L4–5 was significantly associated with femoral neurapraxia at 6-week follow-up (p = 0.02). The only case of femoral nerve injury with motor weakness developed in a patient with a retractor time that was nearly twice as long as the mean time (27.0 vs 14.6 minutes); however, this patient fully recovered by the 3-month follow-up evaluation.

CONCLUSIONS

To our knowledge, this is the largest study with the longest follow-up duration to date after single-position prone LLIF at L4–5 with percutaneous pedicle screw fixation. Although 34% of patients reported ipsilateral sensory symptoms in the thigh at the 6-week follow-up evaluation, only 1 patient sustained a nerve injury; this resulted in temporary weakness that resolved by the 3-month follow-up evaluation. Thus, longer transpsoas retractor time at L4–5 during prone LLIF is associated with increased ipsilateral thigh symptoms at 6-week follow-up that may resolve over time.

Open access

Visish M. Srinivasan, Joshua S. Catapano, John P. Sheehy, Mohamed A. Labib, and Michael T. Lawton

Falcotentorial meningiomas arise along the junction of the falx cerebri and the tentorium cerebelli. The authors present a woman in her 60s with an incidentally discovered falcotentorial meningioma, approximately 3 cm in diameter, resected with a torcular craniotomy and posterior interhemispheric approach. The galenic complex was dissected away from the tumor. In the final view, the bilateral internal cerebral veins and basal veins of Rosenthal were seen. A Simpson grade I resection was achieved. The patient experienced transient contralateral hemianopsia and was discharged home. At 1-year follow-up, her neurological examination findings were unremarkable, and there was no radiographic evidence of tumor.

The video can be found here: https://stream.cadmore.media/r10.3171/2021.4.FOCVID2125.

Free access

Alexander C. Whiting, Tsinsue Chen, Kyle I. Swanson, Corey T. Walker, Jakub Godzik, Joshua S. Catapano, and Kris A. Smith

OBJECTIVE

Debate continues over proper surgical treatment for mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE). Few large comprehensive studies exist that have examined outcomes for the subtemporal selective amygdalohippocampectomy (sSAH) approach. This study describes a minimally invasive technique for sSAH and examines seizure and neuropsychological outcomes in a large series of patients who underwent sSAH for MTLE.

METHODS

Data for 152 patients (94 women, 61.8%; 58 men, 38.2%) who underwent sSAH performed by a single surgeon were retrospectively reviewed. The sSAH technique involves a small, minimally invasive opening and preserves the anterolateral temporal lobe and the temporal stem.

RESULTS

All patients in the study had at least 1 year of follow-up (mean [SD] 4.52 [2.57] years), of whom 57.9% (88/152) had Engel class I seizure outcomes. Of the patients with at least 2 years of follow-up (mean [SD] 5.2 [2.36] years), 56.5% (70/124) had Engel class I seizure outcomes. Preoperative and postoperative neuropsychological test results indicated no significant change in intelligence, verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, attention and processing, cognitive flexibility, visuospatial memory, or mood. There was a significant change in word retrieval regardless of the side of surgery and a significant change in verbal memory in patients who underwent dominant-side resection (p < 0.05). Complication rates were low, with a 1.3% (2/152) permanent morbidity rate and 0.0% mortality rate.

CONCLUSIONS

This study reports a large series of patients who have undergone sSAH, with a comprehensive presentation of a minimally invasive technique. The sSAH approach described in this study appears to be a safe, effective, minimally invasive technique for the treatment of MTLE.

Restricted access

Joshua S. Catapano, Kavelin Rumalla, Visish M. Srinivasan, Peter M. Lawrence, Kristen Larson Keil, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Part 2 of this 2-part series on pontine cavernomas presents the taxonomy for subtypes 4–6: inferior peduncular (IP) (subtype 4), rhomboid (5), and supraolivary (6). (Subtypes 1–3 are presented in Part 1.) The authors have proposed a novel taxonomy for pontine cavernous malformations based on clinical presentation (syndromes) and anatomical location (MRI findings).

METHODS

The details of taxonomy development are described fully in Part 1 of this series. In brief, pontine lesions (323 of 601 [53.7%] total lesions) were subtyped on the basis of predominant surface presentation identified on preoperative MRI. Neurological outcomes were assessed according to the modified Rankin Scale, with score ≤ 2 defined as favorable.

RESULTS

The 323 pontine brainstem cavernous malformations were classified into 6 distinct subtypes: basilar (6 [1.9%]), peritrigeminal (53 [16.4%]), middle peduncular (100 [31.0%]), IP (47 [14.6%]), rhomboid (80 [24.8%]), and supraolivary (37 [11.5%]). Subtypes 4–6 are the subject of the current report. IP lesions are located in the inferolateral pons and are associated with acute vestibular syndrome. Rhomboid lesions present to the fourth ventricle floor and are associated with disconjugate eye movements. Larger lesions may cause ipsilateral facial weakness. Supraolivary lesions present to the surface at the ventral pontine underbelly. Ipsilateral abducens palsy is a strong localizing sign for this subtype. A single surgical approach and strategy were preferred for subtypes 4–6: for IP cavernomas, the suboccipital craniotomy and telovelar approach predominated; for rhomboid lesions, the suboccipital craniotomy and transventricular approach were preferred; and for supraolivary malformations, the far lateral craniotomy and transpontomedullary sulcus approach were preferred. Favorable outcomes were observed in 132 of 150 (88%) patients with follow-up. There were no significant differences in outcomes between subtypes.

CONCLUSIONS

The neurological symptoms and signs associated with a hemorrhagic pontine subtype can help define that subtype clinically with key localizing signs. The proposed taxonomy for pontine cavernous malformation subtypes 4–6 meaningfully guides surgical strategy and may improve patient outcomes.

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Joshua S. Catapano, Kavelin Rumalla, Visish M. Srinivasan, Peter M. Lawrence, Kristen Larson Keil, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Anatomical taxonomy is a practical tool that has successfully guided clinical decision-making for patients with brain arteriovenous malformations. Brainstem cavernous malformations (BSCMs) are similarly complex lesions that are difficult to access and highly variable in size, shape, and position. The authors propose a novel taxonomy for midbrain cavernous malformations based on clinical presentation (syndromes) and anatomical location (identified with MRI).

METHODS

The taxonomy system was developed and applied to an extensive 2-surgeon experience over a 30-year period (1990–2019). Of 551 patients with appropriate data who underwent microsurgical resection of BSCMs, 151 (27.4%) had midbrain lesions. These lesions were further subtyped on the basis of predominant surface presentation identified on preoperative MRI. Five distinct subtypes of midbrain BSCMs were defined: interpeduncular (7 lesions [4.6%]), peduncular (37 [24.5%]), tegmental (73 [48.3%]), quadrigeminal (27 [17.9%]), and periaqueductal (7 [4.6%]). Neurological outcomes were assessed using modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores. A postoperative score ≤ 2 was defined as a favorable outcome; a score > 2 was defined as a poor outcome. Clinical and surgical characteristics and neurological outcomes were compared among subtypes.

RESULTS

Each midbrain BSCM subtype was associated with a recognizable constellation of neurological symptoms. Patients with interpeduncular lesions commonly presented with ipsilateral oculomotor nerve palsy and contralateral cerebellar ataxia or dyscoordination. Peduncular lesions were associated with contralateral hemiparesis and ipsilateral oculomotor nerve palsy. Patients with tegmental lesions were the most likely to present with contralateral sensory deficits, whereas those with quadrigeminal lesions commonly presented with the features of Parinaud syndrome. Periaqueductal lesions were the most likely to cause obstructive hydrocephalus. A single surgical approach was preferred (> 90% of cases) for each midbrain subtype: interpeduncular (transsylvian-interpeduncular approach [7/7 lesions]), peduncular (transsylvian-transpeduncular [24/37]), tegmental (lateral supracerebellar-infratentorial [73/73]), quadrigeminal (midline or paramedian supracerebellar-infratentorial [27/27]), and periaqueductal (transcallosal-transchoroidal fissure [6/7]). Favorable outcomes (mRS score ≤ 2) were observed in most patients (110/136 [80.9%]) with follow-up data. No significant differences in outcomes were observed between subtypes (p = 0.92).

CONCLUSIONS

The study confirmed the authors’ hypothesis that taxonomy for midbrain BSCMs can meaningfully guide the selection of surgical approach and resection strategy. The proposed taxonomy can increase diagnostic acumen at the patient bedside, help identify optimal surgical approaches, enhance the consistency of clinical communications and publications, and improve patient outcomes.

Free access

Jacob F. Baranoski, Ankush Bajaj, Colin J. Przybylowski, Joshua S. Catapano, Fabio A. Frisoli, Michael J. Lang, and Michael T. Lawton

Supracerebellar transtentorial (SCTT) approaches have become a popular option for treatment of a variety of pathologies in the medial and basal temporal and occipital lobes and thalamus. Transtentorial approaches provide numerous advantages over transcortical approaches, including obviating the need to traverse eloquent cortex, not requiring parenchymal retraction, and circumventing critical vascular structures. All of these approaches require a tentorial opening, and numerous techniques for retraction of the incised tentorium have been described, including sutures, fixed retractors, and electrocautery. However, all of these techniques have considerable drawbacks and limitations. The authors describe a novel application of clip retraction of the tentorium to the supracerebellar approaches in which an aneurysm clip is used to suspend the tentorial flap, and an illustrative case is provided. Clip retraction of the tentorium is an efficient, straightforward adaptation of an established technique, typically used for subtemporal approaches, that improves visualization and surgical ergonomics with little risk to nearby venous structures. The authors find this technique particularly useful for the contralateral SCTT approaches.

Restricted access

Joshua S. Catapano, Kavelin Rumalla, Visish M. Srinivasan, Peter M. Lawrence, Kristen Larson Keil, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Medullary cavernous malformations are the least common of the brainstem cavernous malformations (BSCMs), accounting for only 14% of lesions in the authors’ surgical experience. In this article, a novel taxonomy for these lesions is proposed based on clinical presentation and anatomical location.

METHODS

The taxonomy system was applied to a large 2-surgeon experience over a 30-year period (1990–2019). Of 601 patients who underwent microsurgical resection of BSCMs, 551 were identified who had the clinical and radiological information needed for inclusion. These 551 patients were classified by lesion location: midbrain (151 [27%]), pons (323 [59%]), and medulla (77 [14%]). Medullary lesions were subtyped on the basis of their predominant surface presentation. Neurological outcomes were assessed according to the modified Rankin Scale (mRS), with an mRS score ≤ 2 defined as favorable.

RESULTS

Five distinct subtypes were defined for the 77 medullary BSCMs: pyramidal (3 [3.9%]), olivary (35 [46%]), cuneate (24 [31%]), gracile (5 [6.5%]), and trigonal (10 [13%]). Pyramidal lesions are located in the anterior medulla and were associated with hemiparesis and hypoglossal nerve palsy. Olivary lesions are found in the anterolateral medulla and were associated with ataxia. Cuneate lesions are located in the posterolateral medulla and were associated with ipsilateral upper-extremity sensory deficits. Gracile lesions are located outside the fourth ventricle in the posteroinferior medulla and were associated with ipsilateral lower-extremity sensory deficits. Trigonal lesions in the ventricular floor were associated with nausea, vomiting, and diplopia. A single surgical approach was preferred (> 90% of cases) for each medullary subtype: the far lateral approach for pyramidal and olivary lesions, the suboccipital-telovelar approach for cuneate lesions, the suboccipital-transcisterna magna approach for gracile lesions, and the suboccipital-transventricular approach for trigonal lesions. Of these 77 patients for whom follow-up data were available (n = 73), 63 (86%) had favorable outcomes and 67 (92%) had unchanged or improved functional status.

CONCLUSIONS

This study confirms that the constellation of neurological signs and symptoms associated with a hemorrhagic medullary BSCM subtype is useful for defining the BSCM clinically according to a neurologically recognizable syndrome at the bedside. The proposed taxonomical classifications may be used to guide the selection of surgical approaches, which may enhance the consistency of clinical communications and help improve patient outcomes.

Restricted access

Joshua S. Catapano, Kavelin Rumalla, Visish M. Srinivasan, Peter M. Lawrence, Kristen Larson Keil, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Brainstem cavernous malformations (BSCMs) are complex, difficult to access, and highly variable in size, shape, and position. The authors have proposed a novel taxonomy for pontine cavernous malformations (CMs) based upon clinical presentation (syndromes) and anatomical location (findings on MRI).

METHODS

The proposed taxonomy was applied to a 30-year (1990–2019), 2-surgeon experience. Of 601 patients who underwent microsurgical resection of BSCMs, 551 with appropriate data were classified on the basis of BSCM location: midbrain (151 [27%]), pons (323 [59%]), and medulla (77 [14%]). Pontine lesions were then subtyped on the basis of their predominant surface presentation identified on preoperative MRI. Neurological outcomes were assessed according to the modified Rankin Scale, with a score ≤ 2 defined as favorable.

RESULTS

The 323 pontine BSCMs were classified into 6 distinct subtypes: basilar (6 [1.9%]), peritrigeminal (53 [16.4%]), middle peduncular (MP) (100 [31.0%]), inferior peduncular (47 [14.6%]), rhomboid (80 [24.8%]), and supraolivary (37 [11.5%]). Part 1 of this 2-part series describes the taxonomic basis for the first 3 of these 6 subtypes of pontine CM. Basilar lesions are located in the anteromedial pons and associated with contralateral hemiparesis. Peritrigeminal lesions are located in the anterolateral pons and are associated with hemiparesis and sensory changes. Patients with MP lesions presented with mild anterior inferior cerebellar artery syndrome with contralateral hemisensory loss, ipsilateral ataxia, and ipsilateral facial numbness without cranial neuropathies. A single surgical approach and strategy were preferred for each subtype: for basilar lesions, the pterional craniotomy and anterior transpetrous approach was preferred; for peritrigeminal lesions, extended retrosigmoid craniotomy and transcerebellopontine angle approach; and for MP lesions, extended retrosigmoid craniotomy and trans–middle cerebellar peduncle approach. Favorable outcomes were observed in 123 of 143 (86%) patients with follow-up data. There were no significant differences in outcomes between the 3 subtypes or any other subtypes.

CONCLUSIONS

The neurological symptoms and key localizing signs associated with a hemorrhagic pontine subtype can help to define that subtype clinically. The proposed taxonomy for pontine CMs meaningfully guides surgical strategy and may improve patient outcomes.