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Florian Roser, Luigi Rigante and Mohamed Samy Elhammady

Procedures on cavernous malformations of the brainstem are challenging due to their eloquent location. This accounts especially for recurrent cavernomas as surgical scars, adhesions, and functional shift might have occurred since primary surgery. We report on a 38-year-old female patient with a large recurrent brainstem cavernoma, who underwent previous successful surgery and experienced recurrent bleeding about 2 years later. She harbored a large associated developmental venous anomaly (DVA) traversing the cavernoma through the midline of the brainstem. In order to visualize complete resection and preservation of the DVA at the same time, endoscopic-assisted resection within the brainstem after decompression in the semisitting position was performed.

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Pasquale De Bonis, Angelo Pompucci, Annunziato Mangiola, Q. Giorgio D'Alessandris, Luigi Rigante and Carmelo Anile

Object

It is generally believed that the outcome of traumatic brain injury is not improved by decompressive craniectomy in patients older than 30–50 years. A literature search was performed to assess the level of evidence with respect to the effect of age on outcome in these cases.

Methods

References were identified by PubMed searches of journal articles published between 1995 and December 2008. The inclusion criteria were as follows: 1) clinical series including adults; and 2) focus on age as a prognostic factor. Technical notes and laboratory investigations were excluded.

Results

Fourteen English-language articles were finally selected. In 5 of the 14 studies, the authors performed no statistical analysis. In 6 studies they concluded that age was not significantly related to outcome (with 1 of these studies showing a correlation between age and outcome only after 65 years). Three studies showed a correlation between age and outcome.

Conclusions

With respect to age and effectiveness of decompressive craniectomy, there are no robust data to establish any degree of core evidence and the referred age thresholds are arbitrary.