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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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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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Bawarjan Schatlo, Granit Molliqaj, Victor Cuvinciuc, Marc Kotowski, Karl Schaller and Enrico Tessitore

Object

Recent years have been marked by efforts to improve the quality and safety of pedicle screw placement in spinal instrumentation. The aim of the present study is to compare the accuracy of the SpineAssist robot system with conventional fluoroscopy-guided pedicle screw placement.

Methods

Ninety-five patients suffering from degenerative disease and requiring elective lumbar instrumentation were included in the study. The robot cohort (Group I; 55 patients, 244 screws) consisted of an initial open robot-assisted subgroup (Subgroup IA; 17 patients, 83 screws) and a percutaneous cohort (Subgroup IB, 38 patients, 161 screws). In these groups, pedicle screws were placed under robotic guidance and lateral fluoroscopic control. In the fluoroscopy-guided cohort (Group II; 40 patients, 163 screws) screws were inserted using anatomical landmarks and lateral fluoroscopic guidance. The primary outcome measure was accuracy of screw placement on the Gertzbein-Robbins scale (Grade A to E and R [revised]). Secondary parameters were duration of surgery, blood loss, cumulative morphine, and length of stay.

Results

In the robot group (Group I), a perfect trajectory (A) was observed in 204 screws (83.6%). The remaining screws were graded B (n = 19 [7.8%]), C (n = 9 [3.7%]), D (n = 4 [1.6%]), E (n = 2 [0.8%]), and R (n = 6 [2.5%]). In the fluoroscopy-guided group (Group II), a completely intrapedicular course graded A was found in 79.8% (n = 130). The remaining screws were graded B (n = 12 [7.4%]), C (n = 10 [6.1%]), D (n = 6 [3.7%]), and E (n = 5 [3.1%]). The comparison of “clinically acceptable” (that is, A and B screws) was neither different between groups (I vs II [p = 0.19]) nor subgroups (Subgroup IA vs IB [p = 0.81]; Subgroup IA vs Group II [p = 0.53]; Subgroup IB vs Group II [p = 0.20]). Blood loss was lower in the robot-assisted group than in the fluoroscopy-guided group, while duration of surgery, length of stay, and cumulative morphine dose were not statistically different.

Conclusions

Robot-guided pedicle screw placement is a safe and useful tool for assisting spine surgeons in degenerative spine cases. Nonetheless, technical difficulties remain and fluoroscopy backup is advocated.

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Colette Boëx, Shahan Momjian and Karl Schaller

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Benoit Jenny, Nicolas Smoll, Yassine El Hassani, Shahan Momjian, Claudio Pollo, Christian M. Korff, Margitta Seeck and Karl Schaller

OBJECTIVE

Like adults, many children suffering from intractable seizures benefit from surgical therapy. Although various reports indicate that early intervention may avoid severe developmental consequences often associated with intractable epilepsy, surgery is still considered a last option for many children. In this retrospective study, the authors aimed to determine whether pediatric epilepsy surgery, in particular during the first years of life, relates to measurable benefits.

METHODS

Data from 78 patients (age range 5 months to 17 years) who underwent epilepsy surgery at the Geneva and Lausanne University Hospitals between 1997 and 2012 were reviewed retrospectively. Patients were dichotomized into 2 groups: infants (≤ 3 years of age, n = 19), and children/adolescents (4–17 years of age, n = 59). Compared with children/adolescents, infants more often had a diagnosis of dysplasia (37% vs 10%, respectively; p < 0.05, chi-square test).

RESULTS

The overall seizure-free rate was 76.9%, with 89.5% in infants and 72.9% in the children/adolescents group. Infants were 2.76 times as likely to achieve seizure-free status as children/adolescents. Postoperative antiepileptic medication was reduced in 67.9% of patients. Only 11.4% of the patients were taking more than 2 antiepileptic drugs after surgery, compared with 43% before surgery (p < 0.0001). The overall complication rate was 15.1% (6.4% transient hemiparesis), and no major complications or deaths occurred.

CONCLUSIONS

The data show a high seizure-free rate in children ≤ 3 years of age, despite a higher occurrence of dysplastic, potentially ill-defined lesions. Pediatric patients undergoing epilepsy surgery can expect a significant reduction in their need for medication. Given the excellent results in the infant group, prospective studies are warranted to determine whether age ≤ 3 years is a predictor for excellent surgical outcome.

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Martin N. Stienen, Oliver P. Gautschi, Karl Schaller, David Netuka, Andreas K. Demetriades, Florian Ringel, Jens Gempt and Dominique Kuhlen

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David J. Cote, Naci Balak, Jannick Brennum, Daniel T. Holsgrove, Neil Kitchen, Herbert Kolenda, Wouter A. Moojen, Karl Schaller, Pierre A. Robe, Tiit Mathiesen and Marike L. Broekman

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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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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.