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Alberto Di Somma, Jorge Torales, Luigi Maria Cavallo, Jose Pineda, Domenico Solari, Rosa Maria Gerardi, Federico Frio, Joaquim Enseñat, Alberto Prats-Galino and Paolo Cappabianca


The extended endoscopic endonasal transtuberculum transplanum approach is currently used for the surgical treatment of selected midline anterior skull base lesions. Nevertheless, the possibility of accessing the lateral aspects of the planum sphenoidale could represent a limitation for such an approach. To the authors’ knowledge, a clear definition of the eventual anatomical boundaries has not been delineated. Hence, the present study aimed to detail and quantify the maximum amount of bone removal over the planum sphenoidale required via the endonasal pathway to achieve the most lateral extension of such a corridor and to evaluate the relative surgical freedom.


Six human cadaveric heads were dissected at the Laboratory of Surgical NeuroAnatomy of the University of Barcelona. The laboratory rehearsals were run as follows: 1) preliminary predissection CT scans, 2) the endoscopic endonasal transtuberculum transplanum approach (lateral limit: medial optocarotid recess) followed by postdissection CT scans, 3) maximum lateral extension of the transtuberculum transplanum approach followed by postdissection CT scans, and 4) bone removal and surgical freedom analysis (a nonpaired Student t-test). A conventional subfrontal bilateral approach was used to evaluate, from above, the bone removal from the planum sphenoidale and the lateral limit of the endonasal route.


The endoscopic endonasal transtuberculum transplanum approach was extended at its maximum lateral aspect in the lateral portion of the anterior skull base, removing the bone above the optic prominence, that is, the medial portion of the lesser sphenoid wing, including the anterior clinoid process. As expected, a greater bone removal volume was obtained compared with the approach when bone removal is limited to the medial optocarotid recess (average 533.45 vs 296.07 mm2; p < 0.01). The anteroposterior diameter was an average of 8.1 vs 15.78 mm, and the laterolateral diameter was an average of 18.77 vs 44.54 mm (p < 0.01). The neurovascular contents of this area were exposed up to the insular segment of the middle cerebral artery. The surgical freedom analysis revealed a possible increased lateral maneuverability of instruments inserted in the contralateral nostril compared with a midline target (average 384.11 vs 235.31 mm2; p < 0.05).


Bone removal from the medial aspect of the lesser sphenoid wing, including the anterior clinoid process, may increase the exposure and surgical freedom of the extended endoscopic endonasal transtuberculum transplanum approach over the lateral segment of the anterior skull base. Although this study represents a preliminary anatomical investigation, it could be useful to refine the indications and limitations of the endoscopic endonasal corridor for the surgical management of skull base lesions involving the lateral portion of the planum sphenoidale.

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Erlick A. C. Pereira, Sandra G. Boccard, Paulo Linhares, Clara Chamadoira, Maria José Rosas, Pedro Abreu, Virgínia Rebelo, Rui Vaz and Tipu Z. Aziz


Fifteen hundred patients have received deep brain stimulation (DBS) to treat neuropathic pain refractory to pharmacotherapy over the last half-century, but few during the last decade. Deep brain stimulation for neuropathic pain has shown variable outcomes and gained consensus approval in Europe but not the US. This study prospectively evaluated the efficacy at 1 year of DBS for phantom limb pain after amputation, and deafferentation pain after brachial plexus avulsion (BPA), in a single-center case series.


Patient-reported outcome measures were collated before and after surgery, using a visual analog scale (VAS) score, 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36), Brief Pain Inventory (BPI), and University of Washington Neuropathic Pain Score (UWNPS).


Twelve patients were treated over 29 months, receiving contralateral, ventroposterolateral sensory thalamic DBS. Five patients were amputees and 7 had BPAs, all from traumas. A postoperative trial of externalized DBS failed in 1 patient with BPA. Eleven patients proceeded to implantation and gained improvement in pain scores at 12 months. No surgical complications or stimulation side effects were noted. In the amputation group, after 12 months the mean VAS score improved by 90.0% ± 10.0% (p = 0.001), SF-36 by 57.5% ± 97.9% (p = 0.127), UWNPS by 80.4% ± 12.7% (p < 0.001), and BPI by 79.9% ± 14.7% (p < 0.001). In the BPA group, after 12 months the mean VAS score improved by 52.7% ± 30.2% (p < 0.001), SF-36 by 15.6% ± 30.5% (p = 1.000), UWNPS by 26.2% ± 40.8% (p = 0.399), and BPI by 38.4% ± 41.7% (p = 0.018). Mean DBS parameters were 2.5 V, 213 microseconds, and 25 Hz.


Deep brain stimulation demonstrated efficacy at 1 year for chronic neuropathic pain after traumatic amputation and BPA. Clinical trials that retain patients in long-term follow-up are desirable to confirm findings from prospectively assessed case series.