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Da Li, Yu-Ming Jiao, Liang Wang, Fu-Xin Lin, Jun Wu, Xian-Zeng Tong, Shuo Wang, and Yong Cao

OBJECTIVE

Surgical management of brainstem lesions is challenging due to the highly compact, eloquent anatomy of the brainstem. This study aimed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of preoperative diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and diffusion tensor tractography (DTT) in brainstem cavernous malformations (CMs).

METHODS

A prospective randomized controlled clinical trial was performed by using stratified blocked randomization. The primary eligibility criterion of the study was being a surgical candidate for brainstem CMs (with informed consent). The study enrolled 23 patients who underwent preoperative DTI/DTT and 24 patients who did not (the control group). The pre- and postoperative muscle strength of both limbs and modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores were evaluated. Muscle strength of any limb at 12 months after surgery at the clinic visit was the primary outcome; worsened muscle strength was considered to be a poor outcome. Outcome assessors were blinded to patient management. This study reports the preliminary results of the interim analysis.

RESULTS

The cohort included 47 patients (22 women) with a mean age of 35.7 years. The clinical baselines between these 2 groups were not significantly different. In the DTI/DTT group, the corticospinal tract was affected in 17 patients (73.9%): it was displaced, deformed/partially interrupted, or completely interrupted in 6, 7, and 4 patients, respectively. The surgical approach and brainstem entry point were adjusted in 3 patients (13.0%) based on DTI/DTT data. The surgical morbidity of the DTI/DTT group (7/23, 30.4%) was significantly lower than that of the control group (19/24, 79.2%, p = 0.001). At 12 months, the mean mRS score (1.1, p = 0.034) and percentage of patients with worsened motor deficits (4.3%, p = 0.006) were significantly lower in the DTI/DTT group than in the control group (1.7% and 37.5%). Multivariate logistic regression identified the absence of preoperative DTI/DTT (OR 0.06, 95% CI 0.01–0.73, p = 0.028) and use of the 2-point method (OR 4.15, 95% CI 1.38–12.49, p = 0.011) as independent adverse factors for a worsened motor deficit. The multivariate model found a significant correlation between poor mRS score and both an increased preoperative mRS score (t = 3.559, p = 0.001) and absence of preoperative DTI/DTT (t = −2.747, p = 0.009).

CONCLUSIONS

DTI/DTT noninvasively allowed for visualization of the anatomical relationship between vital tracts and pathologies as well as facilitated the brainstem surgical approach and entry-point decision making. The technique was valuable for complex neurosurgical planning to reduce morbidity. Nonetheless, DTI/DTT data should be interpreted cautiously.

■ CLASSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE Type of question: therapeutic; study design: randomized controlled trial; evidence: class I.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01758211 (ClinicalTrials.gov)

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Jie Wu, ChengBing Pan, ShenHao Xie, Bin Tang, Jun Fu, Xiao Wu, ZhiGao Tong, BoWen Wu, YouQing Yang, Han Ding, ShaoYang Li, and Tao Hong

OBJECTIVE

When comparing endoscopic endonasal surgery (EES) and transcranial microsurgery (TCM) for adult and mixed-age population craniopharyngiomas, EES has become an alternative to TCM. To date, studies comparing EES and TCM for pediatric craniopharyngiomas are sparse. In this study, the authors aimed to compare postoperative complications and surgical outcomes between EES and TCM for pediatric craniopharyngiomas.

METHODS

The data of pediatric patients with craniopharyngiomas who underwent surgery between February 2009 and June 2021 at a single center were retrospectively reviewed. All included cases were divided into EES and TCM groups according to the treatment modality received. The baseline characteristics of patients were compared between the groups, as well as surgical results, perioperative complications, and long-term outcomes. To control for confounding factors, propensity-adjusted analysis was performed.

RESULTS

Overall, 51 pediatric craniopharyngioma surgeries were identified in 49 patients, among which 35 were treated with EES and 16 were treated with TCM. The proportion of gross-total resection (GTR) was similar between the groups (94.3% for EES vs 75% for TCM, p = 0.130). TCM was associated with a lower rate of hypogonadism (33.3% vs 64.7%, p = 0.042) and a higher rate of growth hormone deficiency (73.3% vs 26.5%, p = 0.002), permanent diabetes insipidus (DI) (60.0% vs 29.4%, p = 0.043), and panhypopituitarism (80.0% vs 47.1%, p = 0.032) at the last follow-up. CSF leakage only occurred in the EES group, with no significant difference observed between the groups (p > 0.99). TCM significantly increased the risk of worsened visual outcomes (25.0% vs 0.0%, p = 0.012). However, TCM was associated with a significantly longer median duration of follow-up (66.0 vs 40.5 months, p = 0.007) and a significantly lower rate of preoperative hypogonadism (18.8% vs 60.0%, p = 0.006). The propensity-adjusted analysis revealed no difference in the rate of recurrence, hypogonadism, or permanent DI. Additionally, EES was associated with a lower median gain in BMI (1.5 kg/m2 vs 7.5 kg/m2, p = 0.046) and better hypothalamic function (58.3% vs 8.3%, p = 0.027) at the last follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

Compared with TCM, EES was associated with a superior visual outcome, better endocrinological and hypothalamic function, and less BMI gain, but comparable rates of GTR, recurrence, and perioperative complications. These findings have indicated that EES is a safe and effective surgical modality and can be a viable alternative to TCM for pediatric midline craniopharyngiomas.

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Peng Li, Fu Zhao, Jing Zhang, Zhenmin Wang, Xingchao Wang, Bo Wang, Zhijun Yang, Jun Yang, Zhixian Gao, and Pinan Liu

OBJECT

The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical features of spinal schwannomas in patients with schwannomatosis and compare them with a large cohort of patients with solitary schwannomas and neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2).

METHODS

The study was a retrospective review of 831 patients with solitary schwannomas, 65 with schwannomatosis, and 102 with NF2. The clinical, radiographic, and pathological data were extracted with specific attention to the age at onset, location of tumors, initial symptoms, family history, and treatment outcome.

RESULTS

The male-to-female ratio of patients with schwannomatosis (72.3% vs 27.7%) was significantly higher than that of patients with solitary schwannomas (53.3% vs 46.7%) and NF2 (54.0% vs 46.0%), respectively (chi-square test, p = 0.012). The mean age at the first spinal schwannoma operation of patients with NF2 (24.7 ± 10.2 years) was significantly younger than that of patients with solitary schwannomas (44.8 ± 13.2 years) and schwannomatosis (44.4 ± 14.1 years; 1-way ANOVA, p < 0.001). The initial symptoms were similar among the 3 groups, with pain being the most common. The distribution of spinal tumors among the 3 groups was significantly different. The peak locations of spinal schwannomas in patients with solitary schwannomas were at C1–3 and T12–L3; in schwannomatosis, the peak location was at T12-L5. A preferred spinal location was not evident for intradural-extramedullary tumors in NF2. Only a slight prominence in the lumbar area could be observed. The patients in the 3 groups obtained similar benefits from the operation; the recovery rates in the patients with solitary schwannomas, NF2, and schwannomatosis were 50.1%, 38.0%, and 53.9%, respectively. The prognosis varied among spinal schwannomas in the patients with schwannomatosis. Up until the last date of follow-up, most patients with schwannomatosis (81.5%) had undergone a single spinal operation, but 12 patients (18.5%) had undergone multiple spinal operations. Patients with nonsegmental schwannomatosis or those with early onset disease seemed to have a poor prognosis; they were more likely to undergo multiple spinal operations. Small cauda equina nodules were common in patients with schwannomatosis (46.7%) and NF2 (86.9%); these small schwannomas appeared to have relatively static behavior. Two patients suspicious for schwannomatosis were diagnosed with NF2 with the detection of constitutional NF2 mutations; 1 had unilateral vestibular schwannoma, and the other had suspicious bilateral trigeminal schwannomas.

CONCLUSIONS

The clinical features of spinal schwannomas vary among patients with solitary schwannomas, NF2, and schwannomatosis. Spinal schwannomas of patients with NF2 appear to be more aggressive than those in patients with solitary schwannomas and schwannomatosis. Spinal schwannomas of schwannomatosis predominate in the lumbar area, and most of them can be treated successfully with surgery. The prognosis varies among spinal schwannomas of schwannomatosis; some patients may need multiple operations due to newly developed schwannomas. Sometimes, it is difficult to differentiate schwannomatosis from NF2 based on clinical manifestations. It is prudent to perform close follow-up examinations in patients with undetermined schwannomatosis and their offspring.

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Yuming Jiao, Fuxin Lin, Jun Wu, Hao Li, Weilun Fu, Ran Huo, Yong Cao, Shuo Wang, and Jizong Zhao

OBJECTIVE

The dominant inferior parietal lobe (IPL) contains cortical and subcortical structures that serve language processing. A high incidence of postoperative short-term aphasia and good potential for language reorganization have been observed. The authors’ goal was to study the plasticity of the language cortex and language-related fibers in patients with brain arteriovenous malformations (BAVMs) located in the IPL.

METHODS

A total of 6 patients who underwent microsurgical treatment of an IPL BAVM were prospectively recruited between September 2016 and May 2018. Blood oxygen level–dependent functional MRI (BOLD-fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) were performed within 1 week before and 6 months after microsurgery. Language-related white matter (WM) eloquent fiber tracts and their contralateral homologous fiber tracts were tracked. The Western Aphasia Battery was administered to assess language function. The authors determined the total number of fibers and mean fractional anisotropy (FA) indices for each individual tract. In addition, they calculated the laterality index (LI) between the activated language cortex voxels in the lesional and contralesional hemispheres and compared these indices between the preoperative and postoperative fMR and DT images.

RESULTS

Of the 6 patients with IPL BAVMs, all experienced postoperative short-term language deficits, and 5 (83.3%) recovered completely at 6 months after surgery. Five patients (83.3%) had right homologous reorganization of BOLD signal activations in both Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas. More fibers were observed in the arcuate fasciculus (AF) in the lesional hemisphere than in the contralesional hemisphere (1905 vs 254 fibers, p = 0.035). Six months after surgery, a significantly increased number of fibers was seen in the right hemispheric AF (249 fibers preoperatively vs 485 postoperatively, p = 0.026). There were significantly more nerve fibers in the postoperative left inferior frontooccipital fasciculus (IFOF) (874 fibers preoperatively vs 1186 postoperatively, p = 0.010). A statistically significant increase in right hemispheric dominance of Wernicke’s area was observed. The overall functional LI showed functional lateralization of Wernicke’s area in the right hemisphere (LI ≤ −0.20) in all patients.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ findings provide evidence for the functional reorganization by recruiting the right hemispheric homologous region of Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas, right hemispheric AFs, and left hemispheric IFOFs following resection of IPL BAVMs.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT02868008 (clinicaltrials.gov)

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Oral Presentations

2010 AANS Annual Meeting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 1–5, 2010