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Ilya Lekht, Noah Brauner, Joshua Bakhsheshian, Ki-Eun Chang, Mittul Gulati, Mark S. Shiroishi, Edward G. Grant, Eisha Christian and Gabriel Zada


Intraoperative contrast-enhanced ultrasound (iCEUS) offers dynamic imaging and provides functional data in real time. However, no standardized protocols or validated quantitative data exist to guide its routine use in neurosurgery. The authors aimed to provide further clinical data on the versatile application of iCEUS through a technical note and illustrative case series.


Five patients undergoing craniotomies for suspected tumors were included. iCEUS was performed using a contrast agent composed of lipid shell microspheres enclosing perflutren (octafluoropropane) gas. Perfusion data were acquired through a time-intensity curve analysis protocol obtained using iCEUS prior to biopsy and/or resection of all lesions.


Three primary tumors (gemistocytic astrocytoma, glioblastoma multiforme, and meningioma), 1 metastatic lesion (melanoma), and 1 tumefactive demyelinating lesion (multiple sclerosis) were assessed using real-time iCEUS. No intraoperative complications occurred following multiple administrations of contrast agent in all cases. In all neoplastic cases, iCEUS replicated enhancement patterns observed on preoperative Gd-enhanced MRI, facilitated safe tumor debulking by differentiating neoplastic tissue from normal brain parenchyma, and helped identify arterial feeders and draining veins in and around the surgical cavity. Intraoperative CEUS was also useful in guiding a successful intraoperative needle biopsy of a cerebellar tumefactive demyelinating lesion obtained during real-time perfusion analysis.


Intraoperative CEUS has potential for safe, real-time, dynamic contrast-based imaging for routine use in neurooncological surgery and image-guided biopsy. Intraoperative CEUS eliminates the effect of anatomical distortions associated with standard neuronavigation and provides quantitative perfusion data in real time, which may hold major implications for intraoperative diagnosis, tissue differentiation, and quantification of extent of resection. Further prospective studies will help standardize the role of iCEUS in neurosurgery.

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Meng Law, Regina Wang, Chia-Shang J. Liu, Mark S. Shiroishi, John D. Carmichael, William J. Mack, Martin Weiss, Danny J. J. Wang, Arthur W. Toga and Gabriel Zada

Cushing’s disease is caused by adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH)–secreting pituitary adenomas, which are often difficult to identify on standard 1.5-T or 3-T MRI, including dynamic contrast imaging. Inferior petrosal and cavernous sinus sampling remains the gold standard for MRI-negative Cushing’s disease.

The authors report on a 27-year-old woman with Cushing’s disease in whom the results of standard 1.5-T and 3-T MRI, including 1.5-T dynamic contrast imaging, were negative. Inferior petrosal sinus sampling showed a high central-to-peripheral ACTH ratio (148:1) as well as a right-to-left ACTH gradient (19:1), suggesting a right-sided pituitary microadenoma. The patient underwent 7-T MRI, which showed evidence of a right-sided pituitary lesion with focal hypoenhancement not visualized on 1.5-T or 3-T MRI. The patient underwent an endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal operation, with resection of a right-sided pituitary mass. Postoperatively, she developed clinical symptoms suggestive of adrenal insufficiency and a nadir cortisol level of 1.6 μg/dl on postoperative day 3, and hydrocortisone therapy was initiated. Permanent histopathology specimens showed Crooke’s hyaline change and ACTH-positive cells suggestive of an adenoma.

MRI at 7 T may be beneficial in identifying pituitary microadenoma location in cases of standard 1.5-T and 3-T MRI-negative Cushing’s disease. In the future, 7-T MRI may preempt inferior petrosal sinus sampling and help in cases of standard and dynamic contrast 1.5-T and 3-T MRI-negative Cushing’s disease.

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Martin J. Rutkowski, Ki-Eun Chang, Tyler Cardinal, Robin Du, Ali R. Tafreshi, Daniel A. Donoho, Andrew Brunswick, Alexander Micko, Chia-Shang J. Liu, Mark S. Shiroishi, John D. Carmichael and Gabriel Zada


Pituitary adenoma (PA) consistency, or texture, is an important intraoperative characteristic that may dictate operative dissection techniques and/or instruments used for tumor removal during endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs). The impact of PA consistency on surgical outcomes has yet to be elucidated.


The authors developed an objective 5-point grading scale for PA consistency based on intraoperative characteristics, including ease of tumor debulking, manipulation, and instrument selection, ranging from cystic/hemorrhagic tumors (grade 1) to calcified tumors (grade 5). The proposed grading system was prospectively assessed in 306 consecutive patients who underwent an EEA for PAs, and who were subsequently analyzed for associations with surgical outcomes, including extent of resection (EOR) and complication profiles.


Institutional database review identified 306 patients who underwent intraoperative assessment of PA consistency, of which 96% were macroadenomas, 70% had suprasellar extension, and 44% had cavernous sinus invasion (CSI). There were 214 (69.9%) nonfunctional PAs and 92 functional PAs (31.1%). Distribution of scores included 15 grade 1 tumors (4.9%), 112 grade 2 tumors (36.6%), 125 grade 3 tumors (40.8%), 52 grade 4 tumors (17%), and 2 grade 5 tumors (0.7%). Compared to grade 1/2 and grade 3 PAs, grade 4/5 PAs were significantly larger (22.5 vs 26.6 vs 27.4 mm, p < 0.01), more likely to exhibit CSI (39% vs 42% vs 59%, p < 0.05), and trended toward nonfunctionality (67% vs 68% vs 82%, p = 0.086). Although there was no association between PA consistency and preoperative headaches or visual dysfunction, grade 4/5 PAs trended toward preoperative (p = 0.058) and postoperative panhypopituitarism (p = 0.066). Patients with preoperative visual dysfunction experienced greater improvement if they had a grade 1/2 PA (p < 0.05). Intraoperative CSF leaks were noted in 32% of cases and were more common with higher-consistency-grade tumors (p = 0.048), although this difference did not translate to postoperative CSF leaks. Gross-total resection (%) was more likely with lower PA consistency score as follows: grade 1/2 (60%), grade 3 (50%), grade 4/5 (44%; p = 0.045). Extracapsular techniques were almost exclusively performed in grade 4/5 PAs. Assignment of scores showed low variance and high reproducibility, with an intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.905 (95% CI 0.815–0.958), indicating excellent interrater reliability.


These findings demonstrate clinical validity of the proposed intraoperative grading scale with respect to PA subtype, neuroimaging features, EOR, and endocrine complications. Future studies will assess the relation of PA consistency to preoperative MRI findings to accurately predict consistency, thereby allowing the surgeon to tailor the exposure and prepare for varying resection strategies.