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Luca Regli, Antoine Uske and Nicolas de Tribolet

Object. The goal of this study was to delineate the angioanatomical features that determine whether a patient with an unruptured middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysm is treated using endovascular coil placement or surgical clipping.

Methods. Thirty consecutive patients harboring 34 unruptured MCA aneurysms were evaluated. Patients with unruptured aneurysms are managed prospectively according to the following protocol: the primary treatment recommendation is endovascular packing with Guglielmi detachable coils (GDCs). Surgical clipping is recommended after failed attempts at coil placement or in the presence of angioanatomical features that contraindicate that type of endovascular therapy.

Of 34 unruptured MCA aneurysms, two (6%) were successfully embolized and 32 (94%) were clipped. Of these 32 surgically treated aneurysms, in 11 (34%) an attempt at GDC embolization had failed, whereas in 21 (66%) primary clipping was performed because of unfavorable angioanatomy. Of the 13 aneurysms treated endovascularly, two (15%) were successfully excluded, whereas GDC treatment failed in 11 (85%). An unfavorable dome/neck ratio (< 2) and an arterial branch originating at the aneurysm base were the reasons for embolization failure.

Conclusions. Careful evaluation of the angioanatomy of unruptured aneurysms allows selection of the most appropriate treatment. However, for unruptured MCA aneurysms, surgical clipping appears to be the most efficient treatment option. Series of unruptured aneurysms are ideal for comparing treatment results.

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Luca Regli, David G. Piepgras and Kristine K. Hansen

✓ To evaluate the late results and the natural history of long saphenous vein bypass grafts (SVGs) between the extracranial and intracranial circulation, the authors retrospectively analyzed 202 consecutive SVGs performed at the Mayo Clinic from 1979 to 1992. The distal anastomosis was to the vertebrobasilar system in 98 patients and to the carotid artery system in 103 patients. Surgical indications were advanced cerebroocclusive disease in 63% (127 cases), giant aneurysm in 37% (74 cases), and neoplasm in one patient. In 125 patent SVGs follow-up information was obtained for longer than 1 year and in 23 patent SVGs it was over 10 years (maximum 13 years, median 6.5 years). Most of the graft failures (76%) occurred during the 1st year after surgery, with 42% of all graft failures found during the first 24 hours after operation. Late graft attrition occurred in only 10 patients (8%). Cumulative patency at 1 year was 86% ± 3%, at 5 years 82% ± 4%, and at 13 years 73% ± 19%. Neurological worsening at the time of occlusion developed in 72% of patients with early occlusion, whereas 80% of patients with late graft occlusion had no new neurological symptoms. Long-term patency of SVGs for cerebral revascularization appears to be excellent, with an average failure rate of 1% to 1.5% per year following the 1st year after surgery. To minimize early graft thrombosis, meticulous attention must be paid to technical detail.

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Marike L. D. Broekman, Janneke van Beijnum, Wilco C. Peul and Luca Regli

Many neurosurgeons remove their patients' hair before surgery. They claim that this practice reduces the chance of postoperative surgical site infections, and facilitates planning, attachment of the drapes, and closure. However, most patients dread this procedure. The authors performed the first systematic review on shaving before neurosurgical procedures to investigate whether this commonly performed procedure is based on evidence. They systematically reviewed the literature on wound infections following different shaving strategies. Data on the type of surgery, surgeryrelated infections, preoperative shaving policy, decontamination protocols, and perioperative antibiotics protocols were collected. The search detected 165 articles, of which 21 studies—involving 11,071 patients—were suitable for inclusion. Two of these studies were randomized controlled trials. The authors reviewed 13 studies that reported on the role of preoperative hair removal in craniotomies, 14 on implantation surgery, 5 on bur hole procedures, and 3 on spine surgery. Nine studies described shaving policies in pediatric patients. None of these papers provided evidence that preoperative shaving decreases the occurrence of postoperative wound infections. The authors conclude that there is no evidence to support the routine performance of preoperative hair removal in neurosurgery. Therefore, properly designed studies are needed to provide evidence for preoperative shaving recommendations.

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Amir R. Dehdashti, Stefano Binaghi, Antoine Uske and Luca Regli


In this study the accuracy of multislice computerized tomography (MSCT) angiography in the postoperative examination of clip-occluded intracranial aneurysms was compared with that of intraarterial digital subtraction (DS) angiography


Forty-nine consecutive patients with 60 clipped aneurysms (41 of which had ruptured) were studied with the aid of postoperative MSCT and DS angiography. Both types of radiological studies were reviewed independently by two observers to assess the quality of the images, the artifacts left by the clips, the completeness of aneurysm occlusion, the patency of the parent vessel, and the duration and cost of the examination.

The quality of MSCT angiography was good in 42 patients (86%). Poor-quality MSCT angiograms (14%) were a result of the late acquisition of images in three patients and the presence of clip or motion artifacts in four. Occlusion of the aneurysm on good-quality MSCT angiograms was confirmed in all but two patients in whom a small (2-mm) remnant was confirmed on DS angiograms. In one patient, occlusion of a parent vessel was seen on DS angiograms but missed on MSCT angiograms. The sensitivity and specificity for detecting neck remnants on MSCT angiography were both 100%, and the sensitivity and specificity for evaluating vessel patency were 80 and 100%, respectively (95% confidence interval 29.2–100%). Interobserver agreements were 0.765 and 0.86, respectively. The mean duration of the examination was 13 minutes for MSCT angiography and 75 minutes for DS angiography (p < 0.05). Multislice CT angiography was highly cost effective (p < 0.01).


Current-generation MSCT angiography is an accurate noninvasive tool used for assessment of clipped aneurysms in the anterior circulation. Its high sensitivity and low cost warrant its use for postoperative routine control examinations following clip placement on an aneurysm. Digital subtraction angiography must be performed if the interpretation of MSCT angiograms is doubtful or if the aneurysm is located in the posterior circulation.

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Siviero Agazzi, Luca Regli, Antoine Uske, Philippe Maeder and Nicolas de Tribolet

✓ Developmental venous anomalies (DVAs) are common congenital variations of normal venous drainage that are known for their benign natural history. Isolated cases of symptomatic DVAs with associated arteriovenous (AV) shunts have recently been reported. The present case, in which thrombosis occurred in a DVA involving an AV shunt, raises intriguing questions regarding the clinical characteristics of these lesions and can be used to argue in favor of considering such lesions to be arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).

A 39-year-old man presented with acute thrombosis in a complex system of anomalous hemispheric venous drainage, which included two distinct DVAs, one of which involved an AV shunt. The hemodynamic turbulences induced by a communication between shunted and normal venous outflows were the possible predisposing factor of the thrombosis. Follow-up angiographic and magnetic resonance images revealed complete recanalization of the thrombosed vessel and provided a thorough visualization of the particular angioarchitecture of the DVA.

Acute thrombosis within a DVA with an AV shunt has not been reported previously and, thus, this case can be added to other reports of complications that arise in this particular type of DVA. The authors hypothesize that the presence of an AV shunt in a DVA is a risk factor for aggressive clinical behavior of the anomaly, rendering those lesions prone to complications similar to AVMs.

Although no treatment can be offered, the presence of an AV shunt in a DVA warrants close follow-up observation because such lesions may represent a particular subtype of AVM and, therefore, may exhibit an aggressive clinical behavior.

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Kevin Akeret, David Bellut, Hans-Jürgen Huppertz, Georgia Ramantani, Kristina König, Carlo Serra, Luca Regli and Niklaus Krayenbühl


Surgery has proven to be the best therapeutic option for drug-refractory cases of focal cortical dysplasia (FCD)–associated epilepsy. Seizure outcome primarily depends on the completeness of resection, rendering the intraoperative FCD identification and delineation particularly important. This study aims to assess the diagnostic yield of intraoperative ultrasound (IOUS) in surgery for FCD-associated drug-refractory epilepsy.


The authors prospectively enrolled 15 consecutive patients with drug-refractory epilepsy who underwent an IOUS-assisted microsurgical resection of a radiologically suspected FCD between January 2013 and July 2016. The findings of IOUS were compared with those of presurgical MRI postprocessing and the sonographic characteristics were analyzed in relation to the histopathological findings. The authors investigated the added value of IOUS in achieving completeness of resection and improving postsurgical seizure outcome.


The neurosurgeon was able to identify the dysplastic tissue by IOUS in all cases. The visualization of FCD type I was more challenging compared to FCD II and the demarcation of its borders was less clear. Postsurgical MRI showed residual dysplasia in 2 of the 3 patients with FCD type I. In all FCD type II cases, IOUS allowed for a clear intraoperative visualization and demarcation, strongly correlating with presurgical MRI postprocessing. Postsurgical MRI confirmed complete resection in all FCD type II cases. Sonographic features correlated with the histopathological classification of dysplasia (sonographic abnormalities increase continuously in the following order: FCD IA/IB, FCD IC, FCD IIA, FCD IIB). In 1 patient with IOUS features atypical for FCD, histopathological investigation showed nonspecific gliosis.


Morphological features of FCD, as identified by IOUS, correlate well with advanced presurgical imaging. The resolution of IOUS was superior to MRI in all FCD types. The appreciation of distinct sonographic features on IOUS allows the intraoperative differentiation between FCD and non-FCD lesions as well as the discrimination of different histological subtypes of FCD. Sonographic demarcation depends on the underlying degree of dysplasia. IOUS allows for more tailored resections by facilitating the delineation of the dysplastic tissue.

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Carlo Serra, Victor E. Staartjes, Nicolai Maldaner, David Holzmann, Michael B. Soyka, Marco Gilone, Christoph Schmid, Oliver Tschopp and Luca Regli


The “chopsticks” technique is a 3-instrument, 2-hand mononostril technique that has been recently introduced in endoscopic neurosurgery. It allows a dynamic surgical view controlled by one surgeon only while keeping bimanual dissection. Being a mononostril approach, it requires manipulation of the mucosa of one nasal cavity only. The rationale of the technique is to reduce nasal morbidity without compromising surgical results and complication rates. There are, however, no data available on its results in endoscopic surgery (transsphenoidal surgery [TSS]) for pituitary adenoma.


The authors performed a cohort analysis of prospectively collected data on 144 patients (156 operations) undergoing TSS using the chopsticks technique with 3T intraoperative MRI. All patients had at least 3 months of postoperative neurosurgical, endocrinological, and rhinological follow-up (Sino-Nasal Outcome Test–20 [SNOT-20] and Sniffin’ Sticks). The surgical technique is described, and the achieved gross-total resection (GTR) and extent of resection (EOR) together with patients’ clinical outcomes and complications are descriptively reported.


On 3-month postoperative MRI, GTR was achieved in 71.2% of patients with a mean EOR of 96.7%. GTR was the surgical goal in 122 of 156 cases and was achieved in 106 of 122 (86.9%), with a mean EOR of 98.7% (median 100%, range 49%–100%). There was no surgical mortality. At a median follow-up of 15 months (range 3–70 months), there was 1 permanent neurological deficit. As of the last available follow-up, 11.5% of patients had a new pituitary single-axis deficit, whereas 26.3% had improvement in endocrinological function. Three patients had new postoperative hyposmia. One patient had severe impairment of sinonasal function (SNOT-20 score > 40). The operation resulted in endocrine remission in 81.1% of patients with secreting adenomas.


This study shows that the chopsticks technique confers resection and morbidity results that compare favorably with literature reports of TSS. This technique permits a single surgeon to perform effective endoscopic bimanual dissection through a single nostril, reducing manipulation of healthy tissue and thereby possibly minimizing surgical morbidity.

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Max Wintermark, Antoine Uske, Marc Chalaron, Luca Regli, Philippe Maeder, Reto Meuli, Pierre Schnyder and Stefano Binaghi

Object. The goal of this study was to assess the diagnostic accuracy of computerized tomography (CT) angiography performed with the aid of multislice technology (MSCT angiography) in the investigation of intracranial aneurysms, by comparing this method with intraarterial digital subtraction (IADS) angiography.

Methods. Fifty consecutive adult patients, who successively underwent MSCT angiography (four rows) and IADS angiography of intracranial vessels, were prospectively identified. The MSCT angiography studies consisted of 1.25-mm slices, with 0.8-mm reconstruction intervals, a pitch of 0.75, and timing determined by a test bolus. Two neuroradiologists, who were blinded to the initial interpretation of the MSCT angiograms as well as to those of the IADS angiograms, independently reviewed the MSCT angiograms for the detection and characterization of intracranial aneurysms.

Forty-nine intracranial aneurysms were identified in 40 patients; 33 of these lesions were responsible for subarachnoid hemorrhage. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of MSCT angiography in the detection of intracranial aneurysms were 94.8, 95.2, and 94.9%, respectively, on a per-aneurysm basis and 99, 95.2, and 98.3%, respectively, on a per-patient basis. Interobserver agreement was 98%. There was an excellent correlation between aneurysm size assessed using MSCT angiography and that determined by IADS angiography (slope = 0.916, r = 0.877, p < 0.001); however, 2 mm stood as the cutoff size below which the sensitivity of MSCT angiography was statistically lower. That method displayed great accuracy in characterizing the morphological characteristics of the aneurysm.

Conclusions. Multislice CT angiography is an accurate and robust noninvasive screening test for intracranial aneurysms. It performs better than that reported for single-slice CT angiography. Introduction of eight- and especially 16-row MSCT angiography will provide further progression through thinner slices, a lower pitch, and a purely arterial phase.

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David McKalip

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Ken R. Winston