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Karl-Olof Lövblad and Karl Schaller

Object

The goal in this study was to highlight the potential of currently available imaging techniques for surgical planning of procedures in and around the limbic system.

Methods

The authors review traditional and newer imaging techniques as applied to neurosurgical planning. Today MR imaging techniques play a preponderant role. The various applications of functional techniques such as diffusion weighted, diffusion tensor, perfusion, and functional MR imaging methods are discussed.

Results

In addition to the high-resolution studies of anatomy that can be acquired, especially at higher field strengths (≥ 3 T), MR imaging now also offers the possibility of acquiring functional, metabolic, hemodynamic, and molecular information on normal and pathological brain processes.

Conclusions

The knowledge obtained using the various imaging techniques contributes substantially to understanding the disease processes in a way that drastically improves surgical planning.

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Karl-Olof Lövblad and Karl Schaller

Object

The goal in this study was to highlight the potential of currently available imaging techniques for surgical planning of procedures in and around the limbic system.

Methods

The authors review traditional and newer imaging techniques as applied to neurosurgical planning. Today MR imaging techniques play a preponderant role. The various applications of functional techniques such as diffusion weighted, diffusion tensor, perfusion, and functional MR imaging methods are discussed.

Results

In addition to the high-resolution studies of anatomy that can be acquired, especially at higher field strengths (≥ 3 T), MR imaging now also offers the possibility of acquiring functional, metabolic, hemodynamic, and molecular information on normal and pathological brain processes.

Conclusions

The knowledge obtained using the various imaging techniques contributes substantially to understanding the disease processes in a way that drastically improves surgical planning.

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Johannes Schramm, Karl Schaller, Jonas Esche, and Azize Boström

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to review the outcomes after microsurgical resection of cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) from a consecutive single-surgeon series. Clinical and imaging data were analyzed to address the following questions concerning AVM treatment in the post-ARUBA (A Randomized Trial of Unruptured Brain Arteriovenous Malformations) era. 1) Are the patients who present with unruptured or ruptured AVMs doing better at long-term follow-up? 2) Is the differentiation between Ponce Class A (Spetzler-Martin Grade I and II) patients versus Ponce Class B and C patients (Spetzler-Martin Grade III and IV) meaningful and applicable to surgical practice? 3) How did the ARUBA-eligible patients of this surgical series compare with the results reported in ARUBA?

METHODS

Two hundred eighty-eight patients with cerebral AVMs underwent microsurgical resection between 1983 and 2012 performed by the same surgeon (J.S.). This is a prospective case collection study that represents a consecutive series. The results are based on prospectively collected, early-outcome data that were supplemented by retrospectively collected, follow-up data for 94% of those cases. The analyzed data included the initial presentation, Spetzler-Martin grade, obliteration rates, surgical and neurological complications, and frequency of pretreatment with embolization or radiosurgery. The total cohort was compared using “small-AVM,” Spetzler-Martin Grade I and II, and ARUBA-eligible AVM subgroups.

RESULTS

The initial presentation was hemorrhage in 50.0% and seizures in 43.1% of patients. The series included 53 Spetzler-Martin Grade I (18.4%), 114 Spetzler-Martin Grade II (39.6%), 90 Spetzler-Martin Grade III (31.3%), 28 Spetzler-Martin Grade IV (9.7%), and 3 Spetzler-Martin Grade V (1.0%) AVMs. There were 144 unruptured and 104 ARUBA-eligible cases. Preembolization was used in 39 cases (13.5%). The occlusion rates for the total series and small AVM subgroup were 99% and 98.7%, respectively. The mean follow-up duration was 64 months. Early neurological deterioration was seen in 39.2% of patients, of which 12.2% had permanent and 5.6% had permanent significant deficits, and the mortality rate was 1.7% (n = 5). Outcome was better for patients with AVMs smaller than 3 cm (permanent deficit in 7.8% and permanent significant deficit in 3.2% of patients) and Ponce Class A status (permanent deficit in 7.8% and significant deficit in 3.2% of patients). Unruptured AVMs showed slightly higher new deficit rates (but 0 instances of mortality) among all cases, and in the small AVM and Ponce Class A subgroups. Unruptured Spetzler-Martin Grade I and II lesions had the best outcome (1.8% permanent significant deficit), and ARUBA-eligible Spetzler-Martin Grade I and II lesions had a slightly higher rate of permanent significant deficits (3.2%).

CONCLUSIONS

Microsurgery has a very high cure rate. Focusing microsurgical AVM resection on unruptured lesions smaller than 3 cm or on Spetzler-Martin Grade I and II lesions is a good strategy for minimizing long-term morbidity. Well-selected microsurgical cases lead to better outcomes than with multimodal interventions, as in the ARUBA treatment arm, or conservative treatment alone. Long-term prospective data collection is valuable.

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Colette Boëx, Shahan Momjian, and Karl Schaller

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Oliver P. Gautschi, Bawarjan Schatlo, Karl Schaller, and Enrico Tessitore

Object

The technique of pedicle screw insertion is a mainstay of spinal instrumentation. Some of its potential complications are clinically relevant and may require reoperation or further postoperative care.

Methods

A literature search was performed using MEDLINE (between 1999 and June 2011) for studies on pedicle screw placement in thoracolumbar surgery. The authors included randomized controlled trials, case-control studies, and case series (≥ 20 patients) from the English-, German-, and French-language literature. The authors assessed study type, the number of patients, the anatomical area, the number of pedicle screws, duration of follow-up, type of pedicle screw placement, incidence of complications, and type of complication. The management of specific complications is discussed.

Results

Thirty-nine articles with 46 patient groups were reviewed with a total of 35,630 pedicle screws. One study was a randomized controlled trial, 8 were case-control studies, and the remaining articles were case series. Dural lesions and irritation of nerve roots were reported in a mean of 0.18% and 0.19% per pedicle screws, respectively. Thirty-two patients in 10 studies (of 5654 patients from all 39 studies) required further revision surgeries for misplaced pedicle screws causing neurological problems. None of the analyzed studies reported vascular complications, and only 2 studies reported visceral complications of clinical significance.

Conclusions

Pedicle screw placement in the thoracolumbar region is a safe procedure with an overall high accuracy and a very low rate of clinically relevant complications.

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Alioucha Davidovic, Lara Chavaz, Torstein R. Meling, Karl Schaller, Philippe Bijlenga, and Julien Haemmerli

OBJECTIVE

Intracranial minimally invasive procedures imply working in a restricted surgical corridor surrounded by critical structures, such as vessels and cranial nerves. Any damage to them may affect patient outcome. Neuronavigation systems may reduce the risk of such complications. In this study, the authors sought to compare standard neuronavigation (NV) and augmented reality (AR)–guided navigation with respect to the integrity of the perifocal structures during a neurosurgical approach using a novel model imitating intracranial vessels.

METHODS

A custom-made box, containing crisscrossing hard metal wires, a hidden nail at its bottom, and a wooden top, was scanned, fused, and referenced for the purpose of the study. The metal wires and an aneurysm clip applier were connected to a controller, which counted the number of contacts between them. Twenty-three naive participants were asked to 1) use NV to define an optimal entry point on the top, perform the smallest craniotomy possible on the wooden top, and to use a surgical microscope when placing a clip on the nail without touching the metal wires; and 2) use AR to preoperatively define an ideal trajectory, navigate the surgical microscope, and then perform the same task. The primary outcome was the number of contacts made between the metal wires and the clip applier. Secondary outcomes were craniotomy size, and trust in NV and AR to help avoid touching the metal wires, as assessed by a 9-level Likert scale.

RESULTS

The median number of contacts tended to be lower with the use of AR than with NV (AR, median 1 [Q1: 1, Q3: 2]; NV, median 3 [Q1: 1, Q3: 6]; p = 0.074). The size of the target-oriented craniotomy was significantly lower with the use of AR compared with NV (AR, median 4.91 cm2 [Q1: 4.71 cm2, Q3: 7.55 cm2]; and NV, median 9.62 cm2 [Q1: 7.07 cm2; Q3: 13.85 cm2]). Participants had more trust in AR than in NV (the differences posttest minus pretest were mean 0.9 [SD 1.2] and mean −0.3 [SD 0.2], respectively; p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

The results of this study show a trend favoring the use of AR over NV with respect to reducing contact between a clip applier and the perifocal structures during a simulated clipping of an intracranial aneurysm. Target-guided craniotomies were smaller with the use of AR. AR may be used not only to localize surgical targets but also to prevent complications associated with damage to structures encountered during the surgical approach.

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Julien Haemmerli, Alioucha Davidovic, Torstein R. Meling, Lara Chavaz, Karl Schaller, and Philippe Bijlenga

OBJECTIVE

Augmented reality (AR) in cranial surgery allows direct projection of preregistered overlaid images in real time on the microscope surgical field. In this study, the authors aimed to compare the precision of AR-assisted navigation and standard pointer-based neuronavigation (NV) by using a 3D-printed skull in surgical conditions.

METHODS

A commercial standardized 3D-printed skull was scanned, fused, and referenced with an MR image and a CT scan of a patient with a 2 × 2–mm right frontal sinus defect. The defect was identified, registered, and integrated into NV. The target was physically marked on the 3D-printed skull replicating the right frontal sinus defect. Twenty-six subjects participated, 25 of whom had no prior NV or AR experience and 1 with little AR experience. The subjects were briefly trained in how to use NV, AR, and AR recalibration tools. Participants were asked to do the following: 1) “target the center of the defect in the 3D-printed skull with a navigation pointer, assisted only by NV orientation,” and 2) “use the surgical microscope and AR to focus on the center of the projected object” under conventional surgical conditions. For the AR task, the number of recalibrations was recorded. Confidence regarding NV and AR precision were assessed prior to and after the experiment by using a 9-level Likert scale.

RESULTS

The median distance to target was statistically lower for AR than for NV (1 mm [Q1: 1 mm, Q3: 2 mm] vs 3 mm [Q1: 2 mm, Q3: 4 mm] [p < 0.001]). In the AR task, the median number of recalibrations was 4 (Q1: 4, Q3: 4.75). The number of recalibrations was significantly correlated with the precision (Spearman rho: −0.71, p < 0.05). The trust assessment after performing the experiment scored a median of 8 for AR and 5.5 for NV (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

This study shows for the first time the superiority of AR over NV in terms of precision. AR is easy to use. The number of recalibrations performed using reference structures increases the precision of the navigation. The confidence regarding precision increases with experience.

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Philippe Bijlenga, Sandrine Morel, Sven Hirsch, Karl Schaller, and Daniel Rüfenacht

The disease resulting in the formation, growth, and rupture of intracranial aneurysms is complex. Research is accumulating evidence that the disease is driven by many different factors, some constant and others variable over time. Combinations of factors may induce specific biophysical reactions at different stages of the disease. A better understanding of the biophysical mechanisms responsible for the disease initiation and progression is essential to predict the natural history of the disease. More accurate predictions are mandatory to adequately balance risks between observation and intervention at the individual level as expected in the age of personalized medicine. Multidisciplinary exploration of the disease also opens an avenue to the discovery of possible preventive actions or medical treatments. Modern information technologies and data processing methods offer tools to address such complex challenges requiring 1) the collection of a high volume of information provided globally, 2) integration and harmonization of the information, and 3) management of data sharing with a broad spectrum of stakeholders.

Over the last decade an infrastructure has been set up and is now made available to the academic community to support and promote exploration of intracranial disease, modeling, and clinical management simulation and monitoring.

The background and purpose of the infrastructure is reviewed. The infrastructure data flow architecture is presented. The basic concepts of disease modeling that oriented the design of the core information model are explained. Disease phases, milestones, cases stratification group in each phase, key relevant factors, and outcomes are defined. Data processing and disease model visualization tools are presented. Most relevant contributions to the literature resulting from the exploitation of the infrastructure are reviewed, and future perspectives are discussed.

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Granit Molliqaj, Bawarjan Schatlo, Awad Alaid, Volodymyr Solomiichuk, Veit Rohde, Karl Schaller, and Enrico Tessitore

OBJECTIVE

The quest to improve the safety and accuracy and decrease the invasiveness of pedicle screw placement in spine surgery has led to a markedly increased interest in robotic technology. The SpineAssist from Mazor is one of the most widely distributed robotic systems. The aim of this study was to compare the accuracy of robot-guided and conventional freehand fluoroscopy-guided pedicle screw placement in thoracolumbar surgery.

METHODS

This study is a retrospective series of 169 patients (83 women [49%]) who underwent placement of pedicle screw instrumentation from 2007 to 2015 in 2 reference centers. Pathological entities included degenerative disorders, tumors, and traumatic cases. In the robot-assisted cohort (98 patients, 439 screws), pedicle screws were inserted with robotic assistance. In the freehand fluoroscopy-guided cohort (71 patients, 441 screws), screws were inserted using anatomical landmarks and lateral fluoroscopic guidance. Patients treated before 2009 were included in the fluoroscopy cohort, whereas those treated since mid-2009 (when the robot was acquired) were included in the robot cohort. Since then, the decision to operate using robotic assistance or conventional freehand technique has been based on surgeon preference and logistics. The accuracy of screw placement was assessed based on the Gertzbein-Robbins scale by a neuroradiologist blinded to treatment group. The radiological slice with the largest visible deviation from the pedicle was chosen for grading. A pedicle breach of 2 mm or less was deemed acceptable (Grades A and B) while deviations greater than 2 mm (Grades C, D, and E) were classified as misplacements.

RESULTS

In the robot-assisted cohort, a perfect trajectory (Grade A) was observed for 366 screws (83.4%). The remaining screws were Grades B (n = 44 [10%]), C (n = 15 [3.4%]), D (n = 8 [1.8%]), and E (n = 6 [1.4%]). In the fluoroscopy-guided group, a completely intrapedicular course graded as A was found in 76% (n = 335). The remaining screws were Grades B (n = 57 [12.9%]), C (n = 29 [6.6%]), D (n = 12 [2.7%]), and E (n = 8 [1.8%]). The proportion of non-misplaced screws (corresponding to Gertzbein-Robbins Grades A and B) was higher in the robot-assisted group (93.4%) than the freehand fluoroscopy group (88.9%) (p = 0.005).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ retrospective case review found that robot-guided pedicle screw placement is a safe, useful, and potentially more accurate alternative to the conventional freehand technique for the placement of thoracolumbar spinal instrumentation.

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Eveline M. Gutzwiller, Ivan Cabrilo, Ivan Radovanovic, Karl Schaller, and Colette Boëx

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to determine the performance of intraoperative visual evoked potentials (VEPs) in detecting visual field changes.

METHODS

Assessments of VEPs were performed with simultaneous retinal responses by using white light-emitting diodes protected from scialytic microscope lights. The alarm criterion was a reproducible decrease in amplitude of the VEP P100 wave of 20% or more. Visual fields were assessed preoperatively and 1 month postsurgery (Goldmann perimetry).

RESULTS

The VEPs were analyzed for 29 patients undergoing resection of a brain lesion. In 89.7% of patients, steady VEP and retinal responses were obtained for monitoring. The absence of alarm was associated in 94.4% of cases with the absence of postoperative visual changes (specificity). The alarms correctly identified 66.7% of cases with any postoperative changes and 100% of cases with changes more severe than just a discrete quadrantanopia or deterioration of an existing quadrantanopia (sensitivity, new diffuse deterioration < 2 dB). In 11.5% of patients, a transitory VEP decrease with subsequent recovery was observed without postoperative defects.

CONCLUSIONS

Intraoperative VEPs were performed with simultaneous recording of electroretinograms, with protection from lights of the operating room and with white light-emitting diodes. Intraoperative VEPs were shown to be reliable in predicting postoperative visual field changes. In this series of intraaxial brain procedures, reliable intraoperative VEP monitoring was achieved, allowing at minimum the detection of new quadrantanopia. The standardization of this technique appears to be a valuable effort in regard to the functional risks of homonymous hemianopia.