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Ken Matsushima, Michihiro Kohno, Norio Ichimasu, Yujiro Tanaka, Nobuyuki Nakajima, and Masanori Yoshino

OBJECTIVE

Surgery for tumors around the jugular foramen has significant risks of dysphagia and vocal cord palsy due to possible damage to the lower cranial nerve functions. For its treatment, long-term tumor control by maximum resection while avoiding permanent neurological damage is required. To accomplish this challenging goal, the authors developed an intraoperative continuous vagus nerve monitoring system and herein report their experience with this novel neuromonitoring method.

METHODS

Fifty consecutive patients with tumors around the jugular foramen (34 jugular foramen schwannomas, 11 meningiomas, 3 hypoglossal schwannomas, and 2 others) who underwent microsurgical resection under continuous vagus nerve monitoring within an 11-year period were retrospectively investigated. Evoked vagus nerve electromyograms were continuously monitored by direct 1-Hz stimulation to the nerve throughout the microsurgical procedure.

RESULTS

The average resection rate was 96.2%, and no additional surgery was required in any of the patients during the follow-up period (average 65.0 months). Extubation immediately after surgery and oral feeding within 10 days postoperatively were each achieved in 49 patients (98.0%). In 7 patients (14.0%), dysphagia and/or hoarseness were mildly worsened postoperatively at the latest follow-up, but tracheostomy or gastrostomy was not required in any of them. Amplitude preservation ratios on intraoperative vagus nerve electromyograms were significantly smaller in patients with postoperative worsening of dysphagia and/or hoarseness (cutoff value 63%, sensitivity 86%, specificity 79%).

CONCLUSIONS

Intraoperative continuous vagus nerve monitoring enables real-time and quantitative assessment of vagus nerve function and is important for avoiding permanent vagus nerve palsy, while helping to achieve sufficient resection of tumors around the jugular foramen.

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Masanori Yoshino, Akio Morita, Junji Shibahara, and Takaaki Kirino

P The authors report a case of a 16-year-old girl who presented with progressive gait difficulty 8 years after undergoing spinal radiation therapy for spinal astrocytoma. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed intramedullary multicentric cavity formation in the T4–10 area. Extensive subtotal resection was performed and a pathological examination of the excised tissue demonstrated cavernous malformation with radiation-induced degeneration in the surrounding vessels. This is believed to be the third case of de novo formation of an intramedullary cavernous malformation following spinal radiation therapy.

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Masahiro Shin, Kenji Kondo, Shunya Hanakita, Hirotaka Hasegawa, Masanori Yoshino, Yu Teranishi, Taichi Kin, and Nobuhito Saito

OBJECTIVE

Reports about endoscopic endonasal surgery for skull base tumors involving the lateral part of petrous apex remain scarce. The authors present their experience with the endoscopic transsphenoidal anterior petrosal (ETAP) approach through the retrocarotid space for tumors involving the internal auditory canal, jugular fossa, and cavernous sinus.

METHODS

The authors performed the ETAP approach in 10 patients with 11 tumors (bilateral in 1 patient) that extensively occupied the lateral part of petrous apex, e.g., the internal auditory canal and jugular fossa. Eight patients presented with diplopia (unilateral abducens nerve palsy), 3 with tinnitus, and 1 with unilateral hearing loss with facial palsy. After wide anterior sphenoidotomy, the sellar floor, clival recess, and carotid prominence were verified. Tumors were approached via an anteromedial petrosectomy through the retrocarotid triangular space, defined by the cavernous and vertical segments of the internal carotid artery (ICA), the clivus, and the petrooccipital fissure. The surgical window was easily enlarged by drilling the petrous bone along the petrooccipital fissure. After exposure of the tumor and ICA, dissection and resection of the tumor were mainly performed under direct visualization with 30° and 70° endoscopes.

RESULTS

Gross-total resection was achieved in 8 patients (9 tumors). In a patient with invasive meningioma, the tumor was strongly adherent to the ICA, necessitating partial resection. Postoperatively, all 8 patients who had presented with abducens nerve palsy preoperatively showed improvement within 6 months. In the patient presenting with hearing loss and facial palsy, the facial palsy completely resolved within 3 months, but hearing loss remained. Regarding complications, 3 patients showed mild and transient abducens nerve palsy resolving within 2 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months. Postoperative CSF rhinorrhea requiring surgical repair was observed in 1 patient. No patient exhibited hearing deterioration, facial palsy, or symptoms of lower cranial nerve palsy after surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

The ETAP approach can offer a simple, less invasive option for invasive skull base tumors involving petrous regions, including the internal auditory canal, jugular fossa, and cavernous sinus. The ETAP approach can reach more extensive areas in the extradural regions around the petrous bone. The authors' results indicate that the transsphenoidal retrocarotid route is sufficient to approach the petrosal areas in select cases. Further expansion of the surgical field is not always necessary. However, experience with intradural lesions remains limited, and the extent of tumor resection largely depends on tumor characteristics. Application of the ETAP approach should thus be carefully determined in each patient, taking into consideration the size of the retrocarotid window and tumor characteristics.

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Masanori Yoshino, Taichi Kin, Akihiro Ito, Toki Saito, Daichi Nakagawa, Kenji Ino, Kyousuke Kamada, Harushi Mori, Akira Kunimatsu, Hirofumi Nakatomi, Hiroshi Oyama, and Nobuhito Saito

OBJECT

The authors assessed whether the combined use of diffusion tensor tractography (DTT) and contrast-enhanced (CE) fast imaging employing steady-state acquisition (FIESTA) could improve the accuracy of predicting the courses of the facial and cochlear nerves before surgery.

METHODS

The population was composed of 22 patients with vestibular schwannoma in whom both the facial and cochlear nerves could be identified during surgery. According to DTT, depicted fibers running from the internal auditory canal to the brainstem were judged to represent the facial or vestibulocochlear nerve. With regard to imaging, the authors investigated multifused CE-FIESTA scans, in which all 3D vessel models were shown simultaneously, from various angles. The low-intensity areas running along the tumor from brainstem to the internal auditory canal were judged to represent the facial or vestibulocochlear nerve.

RESULTS

For all 22 patients, the rate of fibers depicted by DTT coinciding with the facial nerve was 13.6% (3/22), and that of fibers depicted by DTT coinciding with the cochlear nerve was 63.6% (14/22). The rate of candidates for nerves predicted by multifused CE-FIESTA coinciding with the facial nerve was 59.1% (13/22), and that of candidates for nerves predicted by multifused CE-FIESTA coinciding with the cochlear nerve was 4.5% (1/22). The rate of candidates for nerves predicted by combined DTT and multifused CE-FIESTA coinciding with the facial nerve was 63.6% (14/22), and that of candidates for nerves predicted by combined DTT and multifused CE-FIESTA coinciding with the cochlear nerve was 63.6% (14/22). The rate of candidates predicted by DTT coinciding with both facial and cochlear nerves was 0.0% (0/22), that of candidates predicted by multifused CE-FIESTA coinciding with both facial and cochlear nerves was 4.5% (1/22), and that of candidates predicted by combined DTT and multifused CE-FIESTA coinciding with both the facial and cochlear nerves was 45.5% (10/22).

CONCLUSIONS

By using a combination of DTT and multifused CE-FIESTA, the authors were able to increase the number of vestibular schwannoma patients for whom predicted results corresponded with the courses of both the facial and cochlear nerves, a result that has been considered difficult to achieve by use of a single modality only. Although the 3D image including these prediction results helped with comprehension of the 3D operative anatomy, the reliability of prediction remains to be established.

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Hirofumi Nakatomi, Hidemi Miyazaki, Minoru Tanaka, Taichi Kin, Masanori Yoshino, Hiroshi Oyama, Masaaki Usui, Hiroshi Moriyama, Hiromi Kojima, Kimitaka Kaga, and Nobuhito Saito

OBJECT

Restoration of cranial nerve functions during acoustic neuroma (AN) surgery is crucial for good outcome. The effects of minimizing the injury period and maximizing the recuperation period were investigated in 89 patients who consecutively underwent retrosigmoid unilateral AN surgery.

METHODS

Cochlear nerve and facial nerve functions were evaluated during AN surgery by use of continuous auditory evoked dorsal cochlear nucleus action potential monitoring and facial nerve root exit zone–elicited compound muscle action potential monitoring, respectively. Factors affecting preservation of function at the same (preoperative) grade were analyzed.

RESULTS

A total of 23 patients underwent standard treatment and investigation of the monitoring threshold for preservation of function; another 66 patients underwent extended recuperation treatment and assessment of its effect on recovery of nerve function. Both types of final action potential monitoring response and extended recuperation treatment were associated with preservation of function at the same grade.

CONCLUSIONS

Preservation of function was significantly better for patients who received extended recuperation treatment.

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Masanori Yoshino, Hirofumi Nakatomi, Taichi Kin, Toki Saito, Naoyuki Shono, Seiji Nomura, Daichi Nakagawa, Shunsaku Takayanagi, Hideaki Imai, Hiroshi Oyama, and Nobuhito Saito

Successful resection of hemangioblastoma depends on preoperative assessment of the precise locations of feeding arteries and draining veins. Simultaneous 3D visualization of feeding arteries, draining veins, and surrounding structures is needed. The present study evaluated the usefulness of high-resolution 3D multifusion medical imaging (hr-3DMMI) for preoperative planning of hemangioblastoma. The hr-3DMMI combined MRI, MR angiography, thin-slice CT, and 3D rotated angiography. Surface rendering was mainly used for the creation of hr-3DMMI using multiple thresholds to create 3D models, and processing took approximately 3–5 hours. This hr-3DMMI technique was used in 5 patients for preoperative planning and the imaging findings were compared with the operative findings. Hr-3DMMI could simulate the whole 3D tumor as a unique sphere and show the precise penetration points of both feeding arteries and draining veins with the same spatial relationships as the original tumor. All feeding arteries and draining veins were found intraoperatively at the same position as estimated preoperatively, and were occluded as planned preoperatively. This hr-3DMMI technique could demonstrate the precise locations of feeding arteries and draining veins preoperatively and estimate the appropriate route for resection of the tumor. Hr-3DMMI is expected to be a very useful support tool for surgery of hemangioblastoma.