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Uğur Türe and M. Necmettin Pamir

Object. Various approaches have been described for resection of the dens of the axis, each of which has potential advantages and disadvantages. Anterior approaches such as the transoral route or its modifications are the most commonly used for resection of this structure. The transcondylar approach, however, which allows the surgeon to view the craniovertebral junction (CVJ) from a lateral perspective, has been introduced by Al-Mefty, et al., as an alternative approach. In this report, the authors describe the surgical technique of the extreme lateral—transatlas approach and their clinical experiences.

Methods. The authors first examined the surgical approach to the dens from a lateral perspective in five cadaveric heads. They found that removal of the lateral mass of the atlas provided adequate exposure for resection of the dens. Following this cadaveric study, the extreme lateral—transatlas approach was successfully performed at the authors' institution over a 1-year period (September 1998–August 1999) in five patients with basilar invagination due to congenital anomaly of the CVJ and rheumatoid arthritis. Furthermore, during the same procedure, unilateral occipitocervical fusion was performed following resection of the dens.

In all cases complete resection of the dens was achieved using the extreme—lateral transatlas approach. This procedure provides a sterile operative field and the ability to perform occipitocervical fusion immediately following the resection. No postoperative complications or craniocervical instability were observed. The mean follow-up period was 17.2 months (range 13–24 months).

Conclusions. The extreme lateral—transatlas approach for resection of the dens was found to be safe and effective. Knowledge of the anatomy of this region, especially of the V3 segment of the vertebral artery, is essential for the success of this procedure.

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Sait Naderi and M. Necmettin Pamir

✓ A variety of diseases may affect the craniovertebral junction and require a decompressive and fusion procedure. Craniovertebral junction instability is expected after a fusion procedure. The authors describe two patients with basilar invagination who underwent transoral odontoidectomy and occipitocervical fixation. Despite an uneventful immediate postoperative course, further cranial settling of the C-2 vertebral body (VB) was demonstrated. One patient experienced neurological deterioration and required a second decompressive procedure, whereas the second patient was asymptomatic and required no additional surgery. It was concluded that the odontoidectomy may have led to horizontal separation of the C-1 lateral masses, resulting in further cranial settling of the C-2 VB. Preservation of one aspect of the C-1 anterior arch minimizes C-1 lateral mass offset and, in turn, further cranial settling of the C-2 VB. In addition, a more rigid fixation of C-2 may minimize the possibility of horizontal separation of the C-1 lateral masses after transoral odontoidectomy.

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Tunçalp Özgen, M. Necmettin Pamir, Nejat Akalan, Vural Bertan and Behsan Önol

✓ A patient is described who had a solitary left frontal intracranial chondroma originating from the falx cerebri. The tumor was totally removed. The diagnostic value of computerized tomography and the surgical findings in this rare pathological condition are discussed.

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M. Necmettin Pamir, Koray Özduman, Erdem Yıldız, Aydın Sav and Alp Dinçer

Object

The authors had previously shown that 3-T intraoperative MRI (ioMRI) detects residual tumor tissue during low-grade glioma and that it helps to increase the extent of resection. In a proportion of their cases, however, the ioMRI disclosed T2-hyperintense areas at the tumor resection border after the initial resection attempt and prompted a differential diagnosis between residual tumor and nontumoral changes. To guide this differential diagnosis the authors used intraoperative long-TE single-voxel proton MR spectroscopy (ioMRS) and tested the correlation of these findings with findings from pathological examination of resected tissue.

Methods

Patients who were undergoing surgery for hemispheric or insular WHO Grade II gliomas and were found to have T2 changes around the resection cavity at the initial ioMRI were prospectively examined with ioMRS and biopsies were taken from corresponding localizations. In 14 consecutive patients, the ioMRS diagnosis in 20 voxels of interest was tested against the histopathological diagnosis. Intraoperative diffusion-weighted imaging (ioDWI) was also performed, as a part of the routine imaging, to rule out surgically induced changes, which could also appear as T2 hyperintensity.

Results

Presence of tumor was documented in 14 (70%) of the 20 T2-hyperintense areas by histopathological examination. The sensitivity of ioMRS for identifying residual tumor was 85.7%, the specificity was 100%, the positive predictive value was 100%, and the negative predictive value was 75%. The specificity of ioDWI for surgically induced changes was high (100%), but the sensitivity was only 60%.

Conclusions

This is the first clinical series to indicate that ioMRS can be used to differentiate residual tumor from nontumoral changes around the resection cavity, with high sensitivity and specificity.

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Koray Özduman, Erdem Yıldız, Alp Dinçer, Aydın Sav and M. Necmettin Pamir

Object

The goal of surgery in high-grade gliomas is to maximize the resection of contrast-enhancing tumor without causing additional neurological deficits. Intraoperative MRI improves surgical results. However, when using contrast material intraoperatively, it may be difficult to differentiate between surgically induced enhancement and residual tumor. The purpose of this study was to assess the usefulness of intraoperative dynamic contrast-enhanced T1-weighted MRI to guide this differential diagnosis and test it against tissue histopathology.

Methods

Preoperative and intraoperative dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI was performed in 21 patients with histopathologically confirmed WHO Grade IV gliomas using intraoperative 3-T MRI. Standardized regions of interest (ROIs) were placed manually at 2 separate contrast-enhancing areas at the resection border for each patient. Time-intensity curves (TICs) were generated for each ROI. All ROIs were biopsied and the TIC types were compared with histopathological results. Pharmacokinetic modeling was performed in the last 10 patients to confirm nonparametric TIC analysis findings.

Results

Of the 42 manually selected ROIs in 21 patients, 25 (59.5%) contained solid tumor tissue and 17 (40.5%) retained the brain parenchymal architecture but contained infiltrating tumor cells. Time-intensity curves generated from residual contrast-enhancing tumor and their preoperative counterparts were comparable and showed a quick and persistently increasing slope (“climbing type”). All 17 TICs obtained from regions that did not contain solid tumor tissue were undulating and low in amplitude, compared with those obtained from residual tumors (“low-amplitude type”). Pharmacokinetic findings using the transfer constant, extravascular extracellular volume fraction, rate constant, and initial area under the curve parameters were significantly different for the tumor mass, nontumoral regions, and surgically induced contrast-enhancing areas.

Conclusions

Intraoperative dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI provides quick, reproducible, high-quality, and simply interpreted dynamic MR images in the intraoperative setting and can aid in differentiating surgically induced enhancement from residual tumor.

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Serdar Ozgen, Burak O. Boran, Ilhan Elmaci, Ugur Ture and M. Necmettin Pamir

Subarachnoid–pleural fistula is a rare type of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) fistula, and there are only several cases reported in the literature. The authors describe a 65-year-old male patient in whom a diagnosis of T7–8 disc herniation had been made. He underwent surgery via a right lateral extracavitary approach. Postoperatively he developed progressive respiratory distress and headache. A chest x-ray film revealed a pleural effusion, and computerized tomography (CT) myelography demonstrated a subarachnoidal-pleural fistula at the level at which the herniated disc had been removed. The patient had been managed via a CSF drainage system and a chest tube. He was discharged after relief of symptoms was attained. Subarachnoid–pleural fistulas can be secondary to traumatic injury and surgery, or they can be spontaneous. Patients present with rapidly filling pleural effusion and headache. A diagnosis can be established using CT myelography or myeloscintigraphy. Treatment is conservative, with the placement of a chest tube and insertion of a CSF drainage catheter, and surgical repair should be considered only if the conservative therapy fails.