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Antonio Meola, Ayhan Comert, Fang-Cheng Yeh, Sananthan Sivakanthan and Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda

OBJECT

The dentatorubrothalamic tract (DRTT) is the major efferent cerebellar pathway arising from the dentate nucleus (DN) and decussating to the contralateral red nucleus (RN) and thalamus. Surprisingly, hemispheric cerebellar output influences bilateral limb movements. In animals, uncrossed projections from the DN to the ipsilateral RN and thalamus may explain this phenomenon. The aim of this study was to clarify the anatomy of the dentatorubrothalamic connections in humans.

METHODS

The authors applied advanced deterministic fiber tractography to a template of 488 subjects from the Human Connectome Project (Q1–Q3 release, WU-Minn HCP consortium) and validated the results with microsurgical dissection of cadaveric brains prepared according to Klingler’s method.

RESULTS

The authors identified the “classic” decussating DRTT and a corresponding nondecussating path (the nondecussating DRTT, nd-DRTT). Within each of these 2 tracts some fibers stop at the level of the RN, forming the dentatorubro tract and the nondecussating dentatorubro tract. The left nd-DRTT encompasses 21.7% of the tracts and 24.9% of the volume of the left superior cerebellar peduncle, and the right nd-DRTT encompasses 20.2% of the tracts and 28.4% of the volume of the right superior cerebellar peduncle.

CONCLUSIONS

The connections of the DN with the RN and thalamus are bilateral, not ipsilateral only. This affords a potential anatomical substrate for bilateral limb motor effects originating in a single cerebellar hemisphere under physiological conditions, and for bilateral limb motor impairment in hemispheric cerebellar lesions such as ischemic stroke and hemorrhage, and after resection of hemispheric tumors and arteriovenous malformations. Furthermore, when a lesion is located on the course of the dentatorubrothalamic system, a careful preoperative tractographic analysis of the relationship of the DRTT, nd-DRTT, and the lesion should be performed in order to tailor the surgical approach properly and spare all bundles.

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Georgios Andrea Zenonos, David Fernandes-Cabral, Maximiliano Nunez, Stefan Lieber, Juan Carlos Fernandez-Miranda and Robert Max Friedlander

OBJECTIVE

Surgical approaches to the ventrolateral pons pose a significant challenge. In this report, the authors describe a safe entry zone to the brainstem located just above the trigeminal entry zone which they refer to as the “epitrigeminal entry zone.”

METHODS

The approach is presented in the context of an illustrative case of a cavernous malformation and is compared with the other commonly described approaches to the ventrolateral pons. The anatomical nuances were analyzed in detail with the aid of surgical images and video, anatomical dissections, and high-definition fiber tractography (HDFT). In addition, using the HDFT maps obtained in 77 normal subjects (154 sides), the authors performed a detailed anatomical study of the surgically relevant distances between the trigeminal entry zone and the corticospinal tracts.

RESULTS

The patient treated with this approach had a complete resection of his cavernous malformation, and improvement of his symptoms. With regard to the HDFT anatomical study, the average direct distance of the corticospinal tracts from the trigeminal entry zone was 12.6 mm (range 8.7–17 mm). The average vertical distance was 3.6 mm (range −2.3 to 8.7 mm). The mean distances did not differ significantly from side to side, or across any of the groups studied (right-handed, left-handed, and ambidextrous).

CONCLUSIONS

The epitrigeminal entry zone to the brainstem appears to be safe and effective for treating intrinsic ventrolateral pontine pathological entities. A possible advantage of this approach is increased versatility in the rostrocaudal axis, providing access both above and below the trigeminal nerve. Familiarity with the subtemporal transtentorial approach, and the reliable surgical landmark of the trigeminal entry zone, should make this a straightforward approach.

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David T. Fernandes Cabral, Georgios A. Zenonos, Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Eric W. Wang and Paul A. Gardner

OBJECTIVE

Iatrogenic tumor seeding after open surgery for chordoma has been well described in the literature. The incidence and particularities related to endoscopic endonasal surgery (EES) have not been defined.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed their experience with EES for clival chordoma, focusing on cases with iatrogenic seeding. The clinical, radiographic, pathological, and molecular characterization data were reviewed.

RESULTS

Among 173 EESs performed for clival chordomas at the authors’ institution between April 2003 and May 2016, 2 cases complicated by iatrogenic seeding (incidence 1.15%) were identified. The first case was a 10-year-old boy, who presented 21 months after an EES for a multiply recurrent clival chordoma with a recurrence along the left inferior turbinate, distinct from a right petrous apex recurrence. Both appeared as a T2-hypertintense, T1-isointense, and heterogeneously enhancing lesion on MRI. Resection of the inferior turbinate recurrence and debulking of the petrous recurrence were both performed via a purely endoscopic endonasal approach. Unfortunately, the child died 2 years later due progression of disease at the primary site, but with no sign of progression at the seeded site. The second patient was a 79-year-old man with an MRI-incompatible pacemaker who presented 19 months after EES for his clival chordoma with a mass involving the floor of the left nasal cavity that was causing an oro-antral fistula. On CT imaging, this appeared as a homogeneously contrast-enhancing mass eroding the hard palate inferiorly, the nasal septum superiorly, and the nasal process of the maxilla, with extension into the subcutaneous tissue. This was also treated endoscopically (combined transnasal-transoral approach) with resection of the mass, and repair of the fistula by using a palatal and left lateral wall rotational flap. Adjuvant hypofractionated stereotactic CyberKnife radiotherapy was administered using 35 Gy in 5 fractions. No recurrence was appreciated endoscopically or on imaging at the patient’s last follow-up, 12 months after this last procedure. In both cases, pathological investigation of the original tumors revealed a fairly aggressive biology with 1p36 deletions, and high Ki-67 levels (10%–15%, and > 20%, respectively). The procedures were performed by a team of right-handed surgeons (otolaryngology and neurosurgery), using a 4-handed technique (in which the endoscope and suction are typically passed through the right nostril, and other instruments are passed through the left nostril without visualization).

CONCLUSIONS

Although uncommon, iatrogenic seeding occurs during EES for clival chordomas, probably because of decreased visualization during tumor removal combined with mucosal trauma and exposure of subepithelial elements (either inadvertently or because of mucosal flaps). In addition, tumors with more aggressive biology (1p36 deletions, elevated Ki-67, or both) are probably at a higher risk and require increased vigilance on surveillance imaging and endoscopy. Further prospective studies are warranted to evaluate the authors’ proposed strategies for decreasing the incidence of iatrogenic seeding after EES for chordomas.

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Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Carlos D. Pinheiro-Neto, Paul A. Gardner and Carl H. Snyderman

The authors present the technical and anatomical nuances needed to perform an endoscopic endonasal removal of a tuberculum sellae meningioma. The patient is a 47-year-old female with headaches and an incidental finding of a small tuberculum sellae meningioma with no vascular encasement, no optic canal invasion, but mild inferior to superior compression of the cisternal segment of the left optic nerve. Neuroophthalmology assessment revealed no visual defects. Treatment options included clinical observation with imaging follow-up studies, radiosurgery, and resection. The patient elected to undergo surgical removal and an endonasal endoscopic approach was the preferred surgical option.

Preoperative radiological studies showed the presence of an osseous ring between the left middle and anterior clinoids, the so-called carotico-clinoidal ring. The surgical implications of this finding and its management are illustrated. The surgical anatomy of the suprasellar region is reviewed, including concepts such as the chiasmatic sulcus and limbus sphenoidale, medial and lateral optico-carotid recesses, and the paraclinoidal and supraclinoidal segments of the internal carotid artery. Emphasis is made in the importance of exposing the distal dural ring of the internal carotid artery and the precanalicular segment of the optic nerve for adequate intradural dissection. The endonasal route allows for early coagulation of the tumor meningeal supply and extensive resection of dural attachments, and importantly, provides an inferior to superior access to the infrachiasmatic region that facilitates complete tumor removal without any manipulation of the optic nerve. The lateral limit of dural removal is formed by the distal dural ring, which is gently coagulated after the tumor is resected. A 45° scope is used to inspect for any residual tumor, in particular at the entrance of the optic nerve into the optic canal and at the most anterior margin of the exposure (limbus sphenoidale). The steps for reconstruction are detailed and include intradural placement of dural substitute and extradural placement of the nasoseptal flap. The nuances for proper harvesting, positioning, and reinforcement of the flap are described. No lumbar drain was used.

The patient had an uneventful recovery with no CSF leak or any other complications. Imaging follow-up at 6 months showed complete removal of the tumor. The patient had no sinonasal or neurological symptoms, and olfaction was fully preserved.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/kkuV-yyEHMg.

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Danilo Silva, Moshe Attia and Theodore H. Schwartz

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Huy Q. Truong, Stefan Lieber, Edinson Najera, Joao T. Alves-Belo, Paul A. Gardner and Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda

OBJECTIVE

The medial wall of the cavernous sinus (CS) is often invaded by pituitary adenomas. Surgical mobilization and/or removal of the medial wall remains a challenge.

METHODS

Endoscopic endonasal dissection was performed in 20 human cadaver heads. The configuration of the medial wall, its relationship to the internal carotid artery (ICA), and the ligamentous connections in between them were investigated in 40 CSs.

RESULTS

The medial wall of the CS was confirmed to be an intact single layer of dura that is distinct from the capsule of the pituitary gland and the periosteal layer that forms the anterior wall of the CS. In 32.5% of hemispheres, the medial wall was indented by and/or well adhered to the cavernous ICA. The authors identified multiple ligamentous fibers that anchored the medial wall to other walls of the CS and/or to specific ICA segments. These parasellar ligaments were classified into 4 groups: 1) caroticoclinoid ligament, spanning from the medial wall and the middle clinoid toward the clinoid ICA segment and anterior clinoid process; 2) superior parasellar ligament, connecting the medial wall to the horizontal cavernous ICA and/or lateral wall of the CS; 3) inferior parasellar ligament, bridging the medial wall to the anterior wall of the CS or anterior surface of the short vertical segment of the cavernous ICA; and 4) posterior parasellar ligament, which anchors the medial wall to the short vertical segment of the cavernous ICA and/or the posterior carotid sulcus. The caroticoclinoid ligament and inferior parasellar ligament were present in most CSs (97.7% and 95%, respectively), while the superior and posterior parasellar ligaments were identified in approximately half of the CSs (57.5% and 45%, respectively). The caroticoclinoid ligament was the strongest and largest ligament, and it was typically assembled as a group of ligaments with a fan-like arrangement. The inferior parasellar ligament was the first to be encountered after opening the anterior wall of the CS during an interdural transcavernous approach.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors introduce a classification of the parasellar ligaments and their role in anchoring the medial wall of the CS. These ligaments should be identified and transected to safely mobilize the medial wall away from the cavernous ICA during a transcavernous approach and for safe and complete resection of adenomas that selectively invade the medial wall.

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Juan C. Fernández-Miranda, Albert L. Rhoton Jr., Yukinari Kakizawa, Chanyoung Choi and Juan Álvarez-Linera

Object

The goal in this study was to examine the microsurgical and tractographic anatomy of the claustrum and its projection fibers, and to analyze the functional and surgical implications of the findings.

Methods

Fifteen formalin-fixed human brain hemispheres were dissected using the Klingler fiber dissection technique, with the aid of an operating microscope at × 6–40 magnification. Magnetic resonance imaging studies of 5 normal brains were analyzed using diffusion tensor (DT) imaging–based tractography software.

Results

Both the claustrum and external capsule have 2 parts: dorsal and ventral. The dorsal part of the external capsule is mainly composed of the claustrocortical fibers that converge into the gray matter of the dorsal claustrum. Results of the tractography studies coincided with the fiber dissection findings and showed that the claustrocortical fibers connect the claustrum with the superior frontal, precentral, postcentral, and posterior parietal cortices, and are topographically organized. The ventral part of the external capsule is formed by the uncinate and inferior occipitofrontal fascicles, which traverse the ventral part of the claustrum, connecting the orbitofrontal and prefrontal cortex with the amygdaloid, temporal, and occipital cortices. The relationship between the insular surface and the underlying fiber tracts, and between the medial lower surface of the claustrum and the lateral lenticulostriate arteries is described.

Conclusions

The combination of the fiber dissection technique and DT imaging–based tractography supports the presence of the claustrocortical system as an integrative network in humans and offers the potential to aid in understanding the diffusion of gliomas in the insula and other areas of the brain.

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Maria Koutourousiou, Paul A. Gardner, Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara, Eric W. Wang and Carl H. Snyderman

Object

The proximity of craniopharyngiomas to vital neurovascular structures and their high recurrence rates make them one of the most challenging and controversial management dilemmas in neurosurgery. Endoscopic endonasal surgery (EES) has recently been introduced as a treatment option for both pediatric and adult craniopharyngiomas. The object of the present study was to present the results of EES and analyze outcome in both the pediatric and the adult age groups.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of patients with craniopharyngioma who had undergone EES in the period from June 1999 to April 2011.

Results

Sixty-four patients, 47 adults and 17 children, were eligible for this study. Forty-seven patients had presented with primary craniopharyngiomas and 17 with recurrent tumors. The mean age in the adult group was 51 years (range 28–82 years); in the pediatric group, 9 years (range 4–18 years). Overall, the gross-total resection rate was 37.5% (24 patients); near-total resection (> 95% of tumor removed) was 34.4% (22 patients); subtotal resection (≥ 80% of tumor removed) 21.9% (14 patients); and partial resection (< 80% of tumor removed) 6.2% (4 patients). In 9 patients, EES had been combined with radiation therapy (with radiosurgery in 6 cases) as the initial treatment. Among the 40 patients (62.5%) who had presented with pituitary insufficiency, pituitary function remained unchanged in 19 (47.5%), improved or normalized in 8 (20%), and worsened in 13 (32.5%). In the 24 patients who had presented with normal pituitary function, new pituitary deficit occurred in 14 (58.3%). Nineteen patients (29.7%) suffered from diabetes insipidus at presentation, and the condition developed in 21 patients (46.7%) after treatment. Forty-four patients (68.8%) had presented with impaired vision. In 38 (86.4%) of them, vision improved or even normalized after surgery; in 5, it remained unchanged; and in 1, it temporarily worsened. One patient without preoperative visual problems showed temporary visual deterioration after treatment. Permanent visual deterioration occurred in no one after surgery. The mean follow-up was 38 months (range 1–135 months). Tumor recurrence after EES was discovered in 22 patients (34.4%) and was treated with repeat surgery (6 patients), radiosurgery (1 patient), combined repeat surgery and radiation therapy (8 patients), interferon (1 patient), or observation (6 patients). Surgical complications included 15 cases (23.4%) with CSF leakage that was treated with surgical reexploration (13 patients) and/or lumbar drain placement (9 patients). This leak rate was decreased to 10.6% in recent years after the introduction of the vascularized nasoseptal flap. Five cases (7.8%) of meningitis were found and treated with antibiotics without further complications. Postoperative hydrocephalus occurred in 7 patients (12.7%) and was treated with ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement. Five patients experienced transient cranial nerve palsies. There was no operative mortality.

Conclusions

With the goal of gross-total or maximum possible safe resection, EES can be used for the treatment of every craniopharyngioma, regardless of its location, size, and extension (excluding purely intraventricular tumors), and can provide acceptable results comparable to those for traditional craniotomies. Endoscopic endonasal surgery is not limited to adults and actually shows higher resection rates in the pediatric population.

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Cristian Ferrareze Nunes, Stefan Lieber, Huy Q. Truong, Georgios Zenonos, Eric W. Wang, Carl H. Snyderman, Paul A. Gardner and Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda

OBJECTIVE

Pituitary adenomas may extend into the parapeduncular space by invading through the roof of the cavernous sinus. Currently, a transcranial approach is the preferred choice, with or without the combination of an endonasal approach. In this paper the authors present a novel surgical approach that takes advantage of the natural corridor provided by the tumor to further open the oculomotor triangle and resect tumor extension into the parapeduncular space.

METHODS

Six injected specimens were used to demonstrate in detail the surgical anatomy related to the approach. Four cases in which the proposed approach was used were retrospectively reviewed.

RESULTS

From a technical perspective, the first step involves accessing the superior compartment of the cavernous sinus. The interclinoid ligament should be identified and the dura forming the oculomotor triangle exposed. The oculomotor dural opening may be then extended posteriorly toward the posterior petroclinoidal ligament and inferolaterally toward the anterior petroclinoidal ligament. The oculomotor nerve should then be identified; in this series it was displaced superomedially in all 4 cases. The posterior communicating artery should also be identified to avoid its injury. In all 4 cases, the tumor invading the parapeduncular space was completely removed. There were no vascular injuries and only 1 patient had a partial oculomotor nerve palsy that completely resolved in 2 weeks.

CONCLUSIONS

The endoscopic endonasal transoculomotor approach is an original alternative for removal of tumor extension into the parapeduncular space in a single procedure. The surgical corridor is increased by opening the dura of the oculomotor triangle and by working below and lateral to the cisternal segment of the oculomotor nerve.

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Chirag R. Patel, Eric W. Wang, Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Paul A. Gardner and Carl H. Snyderman

OBJECTIVE

The endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) has been shown to be an effective means of accessing lesions of the petrous apex. Lesions that are lateral to the paraclival segment of the internal carotid artery (ICA) require lateralization of the paraclival segment of the ICA or a transpterygoid infrapetrous approach. In this study the authors studied the feasibility of adding a contralateral transmaxillary (CTM) corridor to provide greater access to the petrous apex with decreased need for manipulation of the ICA.

METHODS

Using image guidance, EEA and CTM extension were performed bilaterally on 5 cadavers. The anterior wall of the sphenoid sinus and rostrum were removed. The angle of the surgical approach from the axis of the petrous segment of the ICA was measured. Five illustrative clinical cases are presented.

RESULTS

The CTM corridor required a partial medial maxillectomy. When measured from the axis of the petrous ICA, the CTM corridor decreased the angle from 44.8° ± 2.78° to 20.1° ± 4.31°, a decrease of 24.7° ± 2.58°. Drilling through the CTM corridor allowed the drill to reach lateral aspects of the petrous apex that would have required lateralization of the ICA or would not have been accessible via EEA. The CTM corridor allowed us to achieve gross-total resection of the petrous apex region in 5 clinical cases with significant paraclival extension.

CONCLUSIONS

The CTM corridor is a feasible extension to the standard EEA to the petrous apex that offers a more lateral trajectory with improved access. This approach may reduce the risk and morbidity associated with manipulation of the paraclival ICA.