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Lukas Bobinski, Marc Levivier and John M. Duff

The treatment of craniocervical instability caused by diverse conditions remains challenging. Different techniques have been described to stabilize the craniocervical junction. The authors present 2 cases in which tumoral destruction of the C-1 lateral mass caused craniocervical instability. A one-stage occipitoaxial spinal interarticular stabilization (OASIS) technique with titanium cages and posterior occipitocervical instrumentation was used to reconstruct the C-1 lateral mass and stabilize the craniocervical junction. The ipsilateral vertebral artery was preserved.

The OASIS technique offers single-stage tumor resection, C-1 lateral mass reconstruction, and stabilization with a loadsharing construct. It could be an option in the treatment of select cases of C-1 lateral mass failure.

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Nicolas Massager, Jean Régis, Douglas Kondziolka, Théodore Njee and Marc Levivier

Object. This study was undertaken to assess the efficacy and safety of gamma knife radiosurgery (GKS) for the treatment of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) located within the brainstem.

Methods. The results of GKS performed in 87 patients with brainstem AVMs at two centers with experienced physicians are reviewed. The mean patient age was 37 years and the population included 19 children. The male/female ratio was 56:31. The malformation was located in the upper brainstem in 52 patients. Seventy-four percent of the patients had suffered a hemorrhage before GKS. For 70% of the patients no other treatment had been proposed before GKS. The mean AVM volume was 1.3 cm3. The lesions were treated with one to eight isocenters, with a margin dose ranging between 11.5 Gy and 30 Gy. The mean clinical follow-up period was 3.2 years. Ninety-five percent of the patients improved or remained neurologically stable. Rebleeding occurred in three patients at 3, 6, and 16 months, respectively, after GKS. Two patients in whom rebleeding occured recovered, and one died. The AVM obliteration rate was 63% at 2 years and 73% at 3 years after GKS. A second GKS was performed in six patients in whom only partial obliteration was demonstrated on angiography 3 years after the first procedure.

Conclusions. Gamma knife radiosurgery may be a valuable first-choice therapy for the treatment of AVMs located within the brainstem.

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Benoit J. M. Pirotte, Alphonse Lubansu, Nicolas Massager, David Wikler, Serge Goldman and Marc Levivier

Object

Most intrinsic infiltrative brainstem lesions diagnosed in children are gliomas, and these carry a very bad prognosis. Although the utility and risk of stereotactically guided biopsy procedures in intrinsic infiltrative brainstem lesions have been widely questioned, the neuroimaging diagnosis may be inaccurate in approximately 25% of cases, and the consequences of empirical therapy should not be underestimated. Stereotactic biopsy sampling is still performed in many centers, but the reported diagnostic yield ranges from 83 to 96%. The authors integrated positron emission tomography (PET) images into the planning for stereotactic biopsy procedures to direct the biopsy needle's trajectory to hypermetabolic foci of intrinsic infiltrative brainstem lesions. Their aim was to assess the benefit of the technique in terms of target selection and diagnostic yield.

Methods

Twenty children with newly diagnosed intrinsic infiltrative brainstem lesions underwent a PET-guided stereotactic biopsy procedure. The PET tracer was18F-2-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) in six cases, 11C-methionine in eight, and both agents were used in six. A single biopsy target was selected in the area of highest PET tracer uptake in all cases. The PET data were compared with diagnoses and outcome.

Results

Use of PET guidance improved target selection and provided tumor diagnosis in all trajectories and in all children (high-grade glioma was diagnosed in 10, low-grade glioma in five, and nonglial tumor in five). The PET-guided trajectories provided a higher diagnostic yield than those guided by magnetic resonance imaging alone, which allowed the sampling to be reduced to a single trajectory. The PET data might also carry a prognostic value that could be useful for oncological management.

Conclusions

These data support the suggestion that PET guidance improves the diagnostic yield of stereotactic biopsy sampling, allows the practitioner to reduce the number of sampling procedures, and might lead to a reassessment of the utility of and indications for stereotactic biopsy in children with intrinsic infiltrative brainstem lesions.

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Marc Levivier, Jose Lorenzoni, Nicolas Massager, Salvador Ruiz, Daniel Devriendt and Jacques Brotchi

Object

The authors report their experience using the Leksell gamma knife C (GK-C) for the treatment of meningioma and vestibular schwannoma (VS).

Methods

In December 1999, the first commercially available clinical GK-C was installed at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Erasme Hospital, Brussels, Belgium). In January 2000, the system was upgraded and equipped with the automatic positioning system (APS). Between February 2000 and February 2003, the APS-equipped GK-C was used to perform 532 radiosurgical treatments, including those in 97 meningiomas and 101 VSs.

Meningioma and VS represent 18 and 19%, respectively, of lesions in patients treated with GK-C at the authors' center. The mean number of isocenters per lesion was 9.5 (range 1–36): 18.1 (range 1–36) for meningioma and 12.8 (range 1–27) for VS. In 77.6% of the cases, the authors used a single helmet of collimators (55.5% in meningioma and 74.3% in VS). The most frequently used collimator size was 4 mm (46.7%). Whereas it was 4 mm in cases of VS (64.3%), it was 8 mm in cases of meningioma (41.6%). The APS could be used in 86% of the cases, either alone (79%) or in combination with trunnions (7%). There was a difference in the APS-based treatment success rate in meningiomas (85%) and VSs (94%). A significant difference was also noted in the conformity of the radiosurgical treatments between the two lesions.

Conclusions

The APS-equipped GK-C represents an evolutionary step in radiosurgery. It requires adjustments by the treating team for its specific limitations, which vary among indications, as exemplified by the differences inherent between meningioma and VS in this series.

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Benoit Pirotte, Philippe Voordecker, Freddy Joffroy, Nicolas Massager, David Wikler, Danielle Baleriaux, Marc Levivier and Jacques Brotchi

Object

Twelve patients (seven female, and five male, mean age 55.6 years) suffering from refractory central (ischemic/traumatic [eight cases]) and neuropathic pain (trigeminal neuropathy [four cases]) underwent surgery for the implantation of an epidural motor cortex stimulation (MCS) device in which the authors used a frameless neuronavigation system, the Zeiss-MKM microscope.

Methods

The authors assessed the spatial accuracy of the neuronavigation system and its potential contribution to improve the quality of targeting pain. In these patients, the positions of the central sulcus, defined by stereotactic magnetic resonance MR imaging, intraoperative somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) and subdural visual verification, were correlated into the stereotactic neuronavigation planning procedure. The mean spatial accuracy of distance between (MR) imaging–defined and actual central sulcus was 2.4 mm (range 5–10 mm). The intraoperative SSEP-defined central sulcus was close to that defined by MR imaging (mean distance 6.4 mm). Although very precise, intra-operative SSEP recordings were impaired by artifacts and wave attenuation in six of the 12 patients. Stereotactic correlations between anatomical and functional data in the navigation system corrected final targeting in 10 of 12 cases. Pain relief was obtained in eight patients. Indeed, inappropriate targeting probably explains the reported variable success rate of MCS and certainly underestimates the actual efficacy.

Conclusions

Since intraoperative SSEP monitoring has, for many years, been considered the standard procedure to approach motor target, the development of an accurate stereotactic image guidance system could help to increase the efficacy of MCS on the alleviation of pain. The excellent spatial accuracy provided by the Zeiss-MKM navigation system allows precise data correlations that represent a remarkable means to validate functional MR imaging as an alternative to SSEP. The authors believe that developing stereotactic image guidance with such a navigation system could improve the success rate of MCS.

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Nicolas Massager, José Lorenzoni, Daniel Devriendt, Françoise Desmedt, Jacques Brotchi and Marc Levivier

Object. Gamma knife surgery (GKS) has emerged as a suitable treatment of pharmacologically resistant idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia. The optimal radiation dose and target for this therapy, however, remain to be defined. The authors analyzed the results of GKS in which a high dose of radiation and a distal target was used, to determine the best parameters for this treatment.

Methods. The authors evaluated results in 47 patients who were treated with this approach. All patients underwent clinical and magnetic resonance imaging examinations at 6 weeks, 6 months, and 1 year post-GKS. Fifteen potential prognostic factors associated with favorable pain control were studied.

The mean follow-up period was 16 months (range 6–42 months). The initial pain relief was excellent (100% pain control) in 32 patients, good (90–99% pain control) in seven patients, fair (50–89% pain control) in three patients, and poor (< 50% pain control) in five patients. The actuarial curve of pain relief displayed a 59% rate of excellent pain control and a 71% excellent or good pain control at 42 months after radiosurgery. Radiosurgery-induced facial numbness was bothersome for two patients and mild for 18 patients. Three prognostic factors were found to be statistically significant factors for successful pain relief: a shorter distance between the target and the brainstem, a higher radiation dose delivered to the brainstem, and the development of a facial sensory disturbance after radiosurgery.

Conclusions. To optimize pain control and minimize complications of this therapy, we recommend that the nerve be targeted at a distance of 5 to 8 mm from the brainstem.

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Constantin Tuleasca, Romain Carron, Noémie Resseguier, Anne Donnet, Philippe Roussel, Jean Gaudart, Marc Levivier and Jean Régis

Object

The purpose of this study was to establish the safety and efficacy of repeat Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) for recurrent trigeminal neuralgia (TN).

Methods

Using the prospective database of TN patients treated with GKS in Timone University Hospital (Marseille, France), data were analyzed for 737 patients undergoing GKS for TN Type 1 from July 1992 to November 2010. Among the 497 patients with initial pain cessation, 34.4% (157/456 with ≥ 1-year follow-up) experienced at least 1 recurrence. Thirteen patients (1.8%) were considered for a second GKS, proposed only if the patients had good and prolonged initial pain cessation after the first GKS, with no other treatment alternative at the moment of recurrence. As for the first GKS, a single 4-mm isocenter was positioned in the cisternal portion of the trigeminal nerve at a median distance of 7.6 mm (range 4–14 mm) anterior to the emergence of the nerve (retrogasserian target). A median maximum dose of 90 Gy (range 70–90 Gy) was delivered. Data for 9 patients with at least 1-year followup were analyzed. A systematic review of literature was also performed, and results are compared with those of the Marseille study.

Results

The median time to retreatment in the Marseille study was 72 months (range 12–125 months) and in the literature it was 17 months (range 3–146 months). In the Marseille study, the median follow-up period was 33.9 months (range 12–96 months), and 8 of 9 patients (88.9%) had initial pain cessation with a median of 6.5 days (range 1–180 days). The actuarial rate for new hypesthesia was 33.3% at 6 months and 50% at 1 year, which remained stable for 7 years. The actuarial probabilities of maintaining pain relief without medication at 6 months and 1 year were 100% and 75%, respectively, and remained stable for 7 years. The systematic review analyzed 20 peer-reviewed studies reporting outcomes for repeat GKS for recurrent TN, with a total of 626 patients. Both the selection of the cases for retreatment and the way of reporting outcomes vary widely among studies, with a median rate for initial pain cessation of 88% (range 60%–100%) and for new hypesthesia of 33% (range 11%–80%).

Conclusions

Results from the Marseille study raise the question of surgical alternatives after failed GKS for TN. The rates of initial pain cessation and recurrence seem comparable to, or even better than, those of the first GKS, according to different studies, but toxicity is much higher, both in the Marseille study and in the published data. Neither the Marseille study data nor literature data answer the 3 cardinal questions regarding repeat radiosurgery in recurrent TN: which patients to retreat, which target is optimal, and which dose to use.

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Jean Régis, Constantin Tuleasca, Noémie Resseguier, Romain Carron, Anne Donnet, Jean Gaudart and Marc Levivier

OBJECT

Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) is one of the surgical alternatives for the treatment of drug-resistant trigeminal neuralgia (TN). This study aims to evaluate the safety and efficacy of GKS in a large population of patients with TN with very long-term clinical follow-up.

METHODS

Between July 1992 and November 2010, 737 patients presenting with TN were treated using GKS. Data were collected prospectively and were further retrospectively evaluated at Timone University Hospital. The frequency and severity of pain, as well as trigeminal nerve function, were evaluated before GKS and regularly thereafter. Radiosurgery using the Gamma Knife (model B, C, 4C, or Perfexion) was performed with the help of both MR and CT targeting. A single 4-mm isocenter was positioned in the cisternal portion of the trigeminal nerve at a median distance of 7.6 mm (range 4–14 mm) anterior to the emergence of the nerve (retrogasserian target). A median maximum dose of 85 Gy (range 70–90 Gy) was prescribed.

RESULTS

The safety and efficacy are reported for 497 patients with medically refractory classical TN who were never previously treated by GKS and had a follow-up of at least 1 year. The median age in this series was 68.3 years (range 28.1–93.2 years). The median follow-up period was 43.8 months (range 12–174.4 months). Overall, 456 patients (91.75%) were initially pain free in a median time of 10 days (range 1–180 days). Their actuarial probabilities of remaining pain free without medication at 3, 5, 7, and 10 years were 71.8%, 64.9%, 59.7%, and 45.3%, respectively. One hundred fifty-seven patients (34.4%) who were initially pain free experienced at least 1 recurrence, with a median delay of onset of 24 months (range 0.6–150.1 months). However, the actuarial rate of maintaining pain relief without further surgery was 67.8% at 10 years. The hypesthesia actuarial rate at 5 years was 20.4% and at 7 years reached 21.1%, but remained stable until 14 years with a median delay of onset of 12 months (range 1–65 months). Very bothersome facial hypesthesia was reported in only 3 patients (0.6%).

CONCLUSIONS

Retrogasserian GKS proved to be safe and effective in the long term and in a very large number of patients. Even if the probability of long-lasting effects may be modest compared with microvascular decompression, the rarity of complications prompts discussion of using GKS as the pragmatic surgical first- or second-intention alternative for classical TN. However, a randomized trial, or at least a case-matched control study, would be required to compare with microvascular decompression.

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Constantin Tuleasca, Romain Carron, Noémie Resseguier, Anne Donnet, Philippe Roussel, Jean Gaudart, Marc Levivier and Jean Régis

Object

The goal of this study was to establish whether clear patterns of initial pain freedom could be identified when treating patients with classic trigeminal neuralgia (TN) by using Gamma Knife surgery (GKS). The authors compared hypesthesia and pain recurrence rates to see if statistically significant differences could be found.

Methods

Between July 1992 and November 2010, 737 patients presenting with TN underwent GKS and prospective evaluation at Timone University Hospital in Marseille, France. In this study the authors analyzed the cases of 497 of these patients, who participated in follow-up longer than 1 year, did not have megadolichobasilar artery– or multiple sclerosis–related TN, and underwent GKS only once; in other words, the focus was on cases of classic TN with a single radiosurgical treatment. Radiosurgery was performed with a Leksell Gamma Knife (model B, C, or Perfexion) using both MR and CT imaging targeting. A single 4-mm isocenter was positioned in the cisternal portion of the trigeminal nerve at a median distance of 7.8 mm (range 4.5–14 mm) anterior to the emergence of the nerve. A median maximum dose of 85 Gy (range 70–90 Gy) was delivered. Using empirical methods and assisted by a chart with clear cut-off periods of pain free distribution, the authors were able to divide patients who experienced freedom from pain into 3 separate groups: patients who became pain free within the first 48 hours post-GKS; those who became pain free between 48 hours and 30 days post-GKS; and those who became pain free more than 30 days after GKS.

Results

The median age in the 497 patients was 68.3 years (range 28.1–93.2 years). The median follow-up period was 43.75 months (range 12–174.41 months). Four hundred fifty-four patients (91.34%) were initially pain free within a median time of 10 days (range 1–459 days) after GKS. One hundred sixty-nine patients (37.2%) became pain free within the first 48 hours (Group PF≤ 48 hours), 194 patients (42.8%) between posttreatment Day 3 and Day 30 (Group PF(>48 hours, ≤ 30 days)), and 91 patients (20%) after 30 days post-GKS (Group PF>30 days). Differences in postoperative hypesthesia were found: in Group PF≤ 48 hours 18 patients (13.7%) developed postoperative hypesthesia, compared with 30 patients (19%) in Group PF(>48 hours, ≤ 30 days) and 22 patients (30.6%) in Group PF>30 days (p = 0.014). One hundred fifty-seven patients (34.4%) who initially became free from pain experienced a recurrence of pain with a median delay of 24 months (range 0.62–150.06 months). There were no statistically significant differences between the patient groups with respect to pain recurrence: 66 patients (39%) in Group PF≤ 48 hours experienced pain recurrence, compared with 71 patients (36.6%) in Group PF(>48 hours, ≤ 30 days) and 27 patients (29.7%) in Group PF>30 days (p = 0.515).

Conclusions

A substantial number of patients (169 cases, 37.2%) became pain free within the first 48 hours. The rate of hypesthesia was higher in patients who became pain free more than 30 days after GKS, with a statistically significant difference between patient groups (p = 0.014).