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Daniel Jeanmonod and Marc Sindou

✓ The goal of this study was to assess the effects of the dorsal root entry zone (DREZ) lesioning procedure, microsurgical DREZ-otomy (MDT), on spinal cord somatosensory function based on peri- and intraoperative clinical and electrophysiological data. The study was performed prospectively on a series of 20 patients suffering from either chronic neurogenic pain or spasticity. Physiological observations were made of the intraoperative evoked electrospinographic recordings as collected from the surface of the spinal cord.

The MDT procedure produced analgesia or severe hypalgesia, moderate hypesthesia, and only slight deficits in proprioception and cutaneous spatial discrimination on the body segments operated on. These clinical data correlated well with evoked electrospinographic recordings, which showed a moderate effect of MDT on presynaptic compound action potentials recorded from the spinal cord (N11 and N21), a partial or even reversible effect on the cortical postcentral N20 wave, a more marked effect on the postsynaptic dorsal horn waves N13 and N24 related to large primary afferent fibers, and a disappearance of dorsal horn waves related to finer afferents (N2 and possibly N3). These data provide evidence for an acceptably selective action of MDT on spinal cord nociceptive mechanisms, and for a partial, often slight, involvement of the other somatosensory domains. The presence of abnormal evoked electrospinographic waves is discussed in relation to the mechanisms of neurogenic pain and spasticity. The hypothesis of a “retuning” of the dorsal horn as the mode of action of MDT is presented.

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Mikhail Chernov

Object.

Radical removal of meningiomas involving the major dural sinuses remains controversial. In particular, whether the fragment invading the sinus must be resected and whether the venous system must be reconstructed continue to be issues of debate. In this paper the authors studied the effects, in terms of tumor recurrence rate as well as morbidity and mortality rates, of complete lesion removal including the invaded portion of the sinus and the consequences of restoring or not restoring the venous circulation.

Methods.

The study consisted of 100 consecutive patients who had undergone surgery for meningiomas originating at the superior sagittal sinus in 92, the transverse sinus in five, and the confluence of sinuses in three. A simplified classification scheme based on the degree of sinus involvement was applied: Type I, lesion attachment to the outer surface of the sinus wall; Type II, tumor fragment inside the lateral recess; Type III, invasion of the ipsilateral wall; Type IV, invasion of the lateral wall and roof; and Types V and VI, complete sinus occlusion with or without one wall free, respectively. Lesions with Type I invasion were treated by peeling the outer layer of the sinus wall. In cases of sinus invasion Types II to VI, two strategies were used: a nonreconstructive (coagulation of the residual fragment or global resection) and a reconstructive one (suture, patch, or bypass). Gross-total tumor removal was achieved in 93% of cases, and sinus reconstruction was attempted in 45 (65%) of the 69 cases with wall and lumen invasion. The recurrence rate in the study overall was 4%, with a follow-up period from 3 to 23 years (mean 8 years). The mortality rate was 3%, all cases due to brain swelling after en bloc resection of a Type VI meningioma without venous restoration. Eight patients—seven of whom harbored a lesion in the middle third portion of the superior sagittal sinus—had permanent neurological aggravation, likely due to local venous infarction. Six of these patients had not undergone a venous repair procedure.

Conclusions.

The relatively low recurrence rate in the present study (4%) favors attempts at complete tumor removal, including the portion invading the sinus. The subgroup of patients without venous reconstruction displayed statistically significant clinical deterioration after surgery compared with the other subgroups (p = 0.02). According to this result, venous flow restoration seems justified when not too risky.

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Marc Guenot, Jean Bullier and Marc Sindou

Object. The aims of this study were to construct an animal model of deafferentation of the spinal cord by brachial plexus avulsion and to analyze the effects of subsequent dorsal root entry zone (DREZ) lesions in this model. To this end, the authors measured the clinical and electrophysiological effects of total deafferentation of the cervical dorsal horn in rats and evaluated the clinical efficacy of cervical DREZ lesioning.

Methods. Forty-three Sprague—Dawley rats were subjected to total deafferentation of the right cervical dorsal horn by performing a posterior rhizotomy from C-5 to T-1. The clinical effects of this deafferentation, namely self-directed mutilations consisting of scraping and/or ulceration of the forelimb skin or even autotomy of some forelimb digits, were then evaluated. As soon as some of these clinical signs of pain appeared, the authors performed a microsurgical DREZ rhizotomy ([MDR], microincision along the deafferented DREZ and dorsal horn). Before and after MDR, single-unit recordings were obtained in the deafferented dorsal horn and in the contralateral (healthy) side. The mean frequency of spontaneous discharge from the deafferented dorsal horn neurons was significantly higher than that from the healthy side (36.4 Hz compared with 17.9 Hz, p = 0.03).

After deafferentation, 81.4% of the rats developed clinical signs corresponding to pain following posterior rhizotomy. Among these animals, scraping was observed in 85.7% of cases, ulceration (associated with edema) in 37.1%, and autotomy in 8.5%. These signs appeared a mean 5.7 weeks (range 1–12 weeks) after deafferentation.

Thirteen rats benefited from an MDR; nine (69%) experienced a complete cure, that is, a total resolution of scraping or ulceration (a mean 4.6 weeks after MDR). In contrast, only one of 11 sham-operated animals showed signs of spontaneous recovery (p = 0.01).

Conclusions. These results emphasize the role of the spinal dorsal horn in the genesis of deafferentation pain and suggest that dorsal horn deafferentation by cervical posterior rhizotomy in the rat provides a reliable model of chronic pain due to brachial plexus avulsion and its suppression by MDR.

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Andrei Brînzeu and Marc Sindou

OBJECTIVE

Classically the 11th cranial nerve (CN XI, or accessory nerve) is described as having a cranial and a spinal root, the latter arising from the upper segments of the spinal cord through a number of very fine rootlets. According to classical knowledge, the cranial root gives motor innervation to the vocal cords, whereas the spinal root provides the motor innervation of the sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM) and of the upper portions of the trapezius muscle (TZ). The specific function of each of the rootlets of the spinal component is not well known. Therefore the authors aimed to map, using intraoperative direct electrical stimulation and electromyographic (EMG) recordings, the innervation territory of these rootlets in relation to their exit level from the CNS.

METHODS

Forty-nine patients undergoing surgery with intradural exposure at the craniocervical junction were enrolled in the study. The EMG recordings included the sternal and clavicular parts of the SCM (SCM-S and SCM-C), the superior and middle parts of the TZ (TZ-S and TZ-M), and whenever possible the vocal cords. The main trunk of CN XI, its roots (both cranial and spinal), and when possible the fine cervical rootlets, were stimulated at predetermined locations, from the jugular foramen down to the lowest cervical level exposed. The EMG responses were collected, and a map of the responses was drawn up.

RESULTS

Monitoring and stimulation of the spinal root were performed in all cases, whereas for the cranial root this was possible in only 19 cases. A total of 262 stimulation sites were explored: 70 at the common trunk of the nerve, 19 at the cranial root, 136 at various levels on the spinal root, and 37 at the cervical rootlets. A vocal cord response was obtained by stimulation of the cranial root in 84.2% (16/19); absence of response was considered to have a technical origin. In no case did the vocal cords respond to the stimulation of the spinal root or rootlets. Stimulation of the cervical rootlets yielded responses that differed according to the level of stimulation: at C-1 the SCM-S responded 95.8% of the time (23/24); at C-2 the SCM-C responded 90.0% of the time (9/10); at C-3 the TZ-S responded 66.6% of the time (2/3); and below that level only the TZ-M responded. The spinal root stimulated at its various levels responded accordingly.

CONCLUSIONS

The function of each of the rootlets of CN XI appears to be specific. The cranial root contributes, independently of the spinal root, to the innervation of the vocal cords, which makes it a specific entity. The spinal root innervates the SCM and TZ with a cranio-caudal motor organization of its cervical rootlets.

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Marc P. Sindou and Jean-Luc Fobé

✓ Improved access to the tentorial notch can be obtained by removal of the roof of the external auditory meatus in association with a low temporal craniotomy. This approach decreases temporal lobe retraction and the risk of venous infarction. This method was perfected in the surgical laboratory on five cadavers and was successfully performed in a patient with a giant aneurysm of the posterior cerebral artery.

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Jorge E. Alvernia and Marc P. Sindou

Object. To understand the cause and prevention of postoperative ischemic and/or venous parenchymal infarcts after intracranial meningioma resection, the authors describe the value of neuroimaging in predicting the surgical plane of cleavage.

Methods. A prospective study of 100 meningiomas was performed, in which tumor size, absence or presence of peritumoral edema, tumor—parenchyma interface, and types of arterial vascularization (that is, dural—meningeal, pial—cortical, or mixed) were correlated with the type of dissection plane (extrapial, subpial, or mixed) encountered at surgery. A direct correlation was found between the tumor size identified on T1-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) imaging sequences and the degree of subpial (nonextrapial) surgical plane of cleavage (p < 0.00001). A similar correlation was found with the grade of peritumoral edema identified on preoperative computerized tomography (CT) scanning (p < 0.0001) or T2-weighted MR imaging sequences (p < 0.00001) and tumor pial vascularization as seen on angiography (p < 0.0001). Nevertheless, the tumor—parenchyma interface on preoperative T2-weighted MR imaging sequences was not predictive of the surgical plane (p > 0.5). The worst clinical outcome was found in the tumors located in eloquent areas and in which a subpial plane was encountered at surgery (p = 0.03).

Conclusions. Peritumoral edema on preoperative CT and MR studies and tumor pial vascularization as seen on selective angiography can be used to predict the surgical plane of cleavage in meningiomas. The association between tumor size and a subpial surgical plane may be explained by a more pial vascularization seen on angiography. Meningiomas with a location in eloquent cortex and a subpial dissection plane should be considered a high-risk group.

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Marc Sindou, Mohamed Mahmoudi and Andrei Brînzeu

OBJECT

In spite of solid anatomical and physiological arguments and the promising results of Jannetta in the 1970s, treating essential hypertension by microvascular decompression (MVD) of the brainstem has not gained acceptance as a mainstream technique. The main reason has been a lack of established selection criteria. Because of this, the authors' attempts have been limited to patients referred for MVD for hemifacial spasm (HFS) who also had hypertension likely to be related to neurovascular compression (NVC).

METHODS

Of 201 patients referred for HFS, 48 (23.8%) had associated hypertension. All had high-resolution MR images that demonstrated NVC. All underwent MVD of the root exit/entry zone (REZ) of the ninth and tenth cranial nerves (CN IX-X) and adjacent ventrolateral medulla in addition to the CN VII REZ. Effects on hypertension, graded using the WHO classification, were studied up to the latest follow-up, which was 2–16 years from the time of surgery, 7 years on average. Also, effects of MVD on blood pressure (BP) according to the side of vascular compression were evaluated.

RESULTS

Preoperatively, hypertension was severe in all but 1 of the patients; in spite of medical treatment, 47 patients still had WHO Grade 1 or 2 hypertension, and 18 still had unstable BP. After MVD, at latest follow-up, BP had returned to normal (i.e., systolic pressure < 140 mm Hg) in 28 patients; 14 of these patients (29.10% of the whole series) were able to maintain normal BP without any antihypertensive treatment; the other 14 still required some medication to maintain their BP below 140 mm Hg (p < 0.0001). Also, at latest follow-up, BP remained unstable in only 8 of the 18 patients with instability prior to MVD (p < 0.02). Analysis according to side of compression showed that of the 30 patients with left-sided compression, 17 had their BP normalized (without medication in 11 cases), and of the 18 patients with right-sided compression, 11 had their BP normalized (without medication in 3 cases). The difference between sides was not significant.

CONCLUSIONS

These results argue for considering MVD for the treatment of hypertension likely to be due to NVC at the CN IX-X REZ and adjacent ventrolateral medulla. Criteria for selecting patients with hypertension alone still need to be established and could include the following indications: apparently essential hypertension, likely to be neurogenic, in patients in whom high-resolution MRI shows clear-cut images of NVC at the CN IX-X REZ and adjacent ventrolateral medulla and in whom BP cannot be controlled by medical treatment.

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Marc P. Sindou and Jorge E. Alvernia

Object

Radical removal of meningiomas involving the major dural sinuses remains controversial. In particular, whether the fragment invading the sinus must be resected and whether the venous system must be reconstructed continue to be issues of debate. In this paper the authors studied the effects, in terms of tumor recurrence rate as well as morbidity and mortality rates, of complete lesion removal including the invaded portion of the sinus and the consequences of restoring or not restoring the venous circulation.

Methods

The study consisted of 100 consecutive patients who had undergone surgery for meningiomas originating at the superior sagittal sinus in 92, the transverse sinus in five, and the confluence of sinuses in three. A simplified classification scheme based on the degree of sinus involvement was applied: Type I, lesion attachment to the outer surface of the sinus wall; Type II, tumor fragment inside the lateral recess; Type III, invasion of the ipsilateral wall; Type IV, invasion of the lateral wall and roof; and Types V and VI, complete sinus occlusion with or without one wall free, respectively. Lesions with Type I invasion were treated by peeling the outer layer of the sinus wall. In cases of sinus invasion Types II to VI, two strategies were used: a nonreconstructive (coagulation of the residual fragment or global resection) and a reconstructive one (suture, patch, or bypass). Gross-total tumor removal was achieved in 93% of cases, and sinus reconstruction was attempted in 45 (65%) of the 69 cases with wall and lumen invasion. The recurrence rate in the study overall was 4%, with a follow-up period from 3 to 23 years (mean 8 years). The mortality rate was 3%, all cases due to brain swelling after en bloc resection of a Type VI meningioma without venous restoration. Eight patients—seven of whom harbored a lesion in the middle third portion of the superior sagittal sinus—had permanent neurological aggravation, likely due to local venous infarction. Six of these patients had not undergone a venous repair procedure.

Conclusions

The relatively low recurrence rate in the present study (4%) favors attempts at complete tumor removal, including the portion invading the sinus. The subgroup of patients without venous reconstruction displayed statistically significant clinical deterioration after surgery compared with the other subgroups (p = 0.02). According to this result, venous flow restoration seems justified when not too risky.

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Andrei Brînzeu, Landry Drogba and Marc Sindou

OBJECTIVE

The choice of microvascular decompression (MVD), among the several other surgical options, for treating refractory classical trigeminal neuralgia (TN) relies mostly on preoperative imaging, but the degree of reliability of MRI remains a matter of debate. The authors approached the question of predictability of neurovascular conflict (NVC) in a series of 100 protocolized MRI studies from patients with TN who underwent MVD, by reexamination of MR images, blinded to the clinical data and surgical findings, including the side of the neuralgia.

METHODS

Patients included in the study were those who underwent MVD after surgical indication had been determined based on a protocolized imagery workup (3D high-resolution T2-weighted cisternography centered on the trigeminal nerve, 3D time-of-flight angiography, and 3D gadolinium-enhanced T1-weighted imaging) performed at our institution. All MR images were blindly reexamined, and neurovascular relationships were described on both sides, noting the existence of compression, vessels involved, situation along the root, and degree of compression. The results of MRI evaluation were then compared with actual surgical findings. The extent of agreement and quality of the prediction were expressed with Cohen’s kappa coefficient (κ) and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) statistics.

RESULTS

A conflict had actually been found during surgery in 94 of 100 patients. The sensitivity of MRI to detect a conflict was 97% and the specificity was 50%. Vessel type was identified with high reliability (κ = 0.80), while the grade of the conflict and its situation along the root showed poor to average reliability (κ = 0.38 and κ = 0.40, respectively). The area under the ROC curve for predicting the presence of a conflict according to the grades of conflict seen on MRI was 0.93, which is considered very good. The positive predictive value was differentiated according to the grade of conflict, with a very high value for high grades of vascular conflict.

CONCLUSIONS

This study shows an overall good reliability of MRI to predict the existence of an NVC. The prediction value is excellent for high grades of compression. Some apparent low-grade compressions on MRI may be revealed as false positives in surgical exploration. This raises the question of what other imaging methods might be used to determine not only the existence of a conflict but also its degree of compression. The degree of compression is of paramount importance to predict the probability of long-term pain relief, and therefore in the decision to propose MVD as the first choice of surgical treatment.