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André Beer-Furlan, Bradley A. Otto, Ricardo L. Carrau and Daniel M. Prevedello

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Malte Ottenhausen, Imithri Bodhinayake, Matei A. Banu, Philip E. Stieg and Theodore H. Schwartz

In 1955, Vincent du Vigneaud (1901–1978), the chairman of the Department of Biochemistry at Cornell University Medical College, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his research on insulin and for the first synthesis of the posterior pituitary hormones—oxytocin and vasopressin. His tremendous contribution to organic chemistry, which began as an interest in sulfur-containing compounds, paved the way for a better understanding of the pituitary gland and for the development of diagnostic and therapeutic tools for diseases of the pituitary. His seminal research continues to impact neurologists, endocrinologists, and neurosurgeons, and enables them to treat patients who had no alternatives prior to du Vigneaud’s breakthroughs in peptide structure and synthesis. The ability of neurosurgeons to aggressively operate on parasellar pathology was directly impacted and related to the ability to replace these hormones after surgery. The authors review the life and career of Vincent du Vigneaud, his groundbreaking discoveries, and his legacy of the understanding and treatment of the pituitary gland in health and disease.

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Malte Ottenhausen, Imithri Bodhinayake, Alexander I. Evins, Matei Banu, John A. Boockvar and Antonio Bernardo

In this article the authors discuss the development of neurosurgical approaches and the advances in science and technology that influenced this development throughout history. They provide a broad overview of this interesting topic from the first attempts of trephination by ancient cultures to the work of the pioneers of neurosurgery and the introduction of microsurgery.

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Shaan M. Raza, Matei A. Banu, Angela Donaldson, Kunal S. Patel, Vijay K. Anand and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECT

The intraoperative detection of CSF leaks during endonasal endoscopic skull base surgery is critical to preventing postoperative CSF leaks. Intrathecal fluorescein (ITF) has been used at varying doses to aid in the detection of intraoperative CSF leaks. However, the sensitivity and specificity of ITF at certain dosages is unknown.

METHODS

A prospective database of all endoscopic endonasal procedures was reviewed. All patients received 25 mg ITF diluted in 10 ml CSF and were pretreated with dexamethasone and Benadryl. Immediately after surgery, the operating surgeon prospectively noted if there was an intraoperative CSF leak and fluorescein was identified. The sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive power of ITF for detecting intraoperative CSF leak were calculated. Factors correlating with postoperative CSF leak were determined.

RESULTS

Of 419 patients, 35.8% of patients did not show a CSF leak. Fluorescein-tinted CSF (true positive) was noted in 59.7% of patients and 0 false positives were encountered. CSF without fluorescein staining (false negative) was noted in 4.5% of patients. The sensitivity and specificity of ITF were 92.9% and 100%, respectively. The negative and positive predictive values were 88.8% and 100%, respectively. Postoperative CSF leaks only occurred in true positives at a rate of 2.8%.

CONCLUSIONS

ITF is extremely specific and very sensitive for detecting intraoperative CSF leaks. Although false negatives can occur, these patients do not appear to be at risk for postoperative CSF leak. The use of ITF may help surgeons prevent postoperative CSF leaks by intraoperatively detecting and confirming a watertight repair.

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Jonathan A. Forbes, Edgar G. Ordóñez-Rubiano, Hilarie C. Tomasiewicz, Matei A. Banu, Iyan Younus, Georgiana A. Dobri, C. Douglas Phillips, Ashutosh Kacker, Babacar Cisse, Vijay K. Anand and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Intrinsic third ventricular craniopharyngiomas (IVCs) have been reported by some authors to “pose the greatest surgical challenge” of all craniopharyngiomas (CPAs). A variety of open microsurgical approaches have historically been used for resection of these tumors. Despite increased utilization of the endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) for resection of CPAs in recent years, many authors continue to recommend against use of the EEA for resection of IVCs. In this paper, the authors present the largest series to date utilizing the EEA to remove IVCs.

METHODS

The authors reviewed a prospectively acquired database of the EEA for resection of IVCs over 14 years at Weill Cornell Medical College, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Preoperative MR images were examined independently by two neurosurgeons and a neuroradiologist to identify IVCs. Pre- and postoperative endocrinological, ophthalmological, radiographic, and other morbidities were determined from retrospective chart review and volumetric radiographic analysis.

RESULTS

Between January 2006 and August 2017, 10 patients (4 men, 6 women) ranging in age from 26 to 67 years old, underwent resection of an IVC utilizing the EEA. Preoperative endocrinopathy was present in 70% and visual deterioration in 60%. Gross-total resection (GTR) was achieved in 9 (90%) of 10 patients, with achievement of near-total (98%) resection in the remaining patient. Pathology was papillary in 30%. Closure incorporated a “gasket-seal” technique with nasoseptal flap coverage and either lumbar drainage (9 patients) or a ventricular drain (1 patient). Postoperatively, complete anterior and posterior pituitary insufficiency was present in 90% and 70% of patients, respectively. In 4 patients with normal vision prior to surgery, 3 had stable vision following tumor resection. One patient noted a new, incongruous, left inferior homonymous quadrantanopsia postoperatively. In the 6 patients who presented with compromised vision, 2 reported stable vision following surgery. Each of the remaining 4 patients noted significant improvement in vision after tumor resection, with complete restoration of normal vision in 1 patient. Aside from the single case (10%) of visual deterioration referenced above, there were no instances of postoperative neurological decline. Postoperative CSF leakage occurred in 1 morbidly obese patient who required reoperation for revision of closure. After a mean follow-up of 46.8 months (range 4–131 months), tumor recurrence was observed in 2 patients (20%), one of whom was treated with radiation and the other with chemotherapy. Both of these patients had previously undergone GTR of the IVC.

CONCLUSIONS

The 10 patients described in this report represent the largest number of patients with IVC treated using EEA for resection to date. EEA for resection of IVC is a safe and efficacious operative strategy that should be considered a surgical option in the treatment of this challenging subset of tumors.

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Casey M. Chai, Matei A. Banu, William Cobb, Neel Mehta, Linda Heier and John A. Boockvar

The authors report 2 cases of orthostatic headaches associated with spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) secondary to CSF leaks that were successfully treated with an alternative dural repair technique in which a tubular retractor system and a hydrogel dural sealant were used. The 2 patients, a 63-year-old man and a 45-year-old woman, presented with orthostatic headache associated with SIH secondary to suspected lumbar and lower cervical CSF leaks, respectively, as indicated by bony defects or epidural fluid collection. Epidural blood patch repair failed in both cases, but both were successfully treated with the minimally invasive application of a hydrogel dural sealant as a novel adjunct to traditional dural repair techniques. Both patients tolerated the procedure well. Moreover, SIH symptoms and MRI signs were completely resolved at 1-month follow-up in both patients.

The minimally invasive dural repair procedure with hydrogel dural sealant described here offers a viable alternative in patients in whom epidural blood patches have failed, with obscure recalcitrant CSF leaks at the cervical as well as lumbar spinal level. The authors demonstrate that the adjuvant use of sealant is a safe and efficient repair method regardless of dural defect location.

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Malte Ottenhausen, Kavelin Rumalla, Andrew F. Alalade, Prakash Nair, Emanuele La Corte, Iyan Younus, Jonathan A. Forbes, Atef Ben Nsir, Matei A. Banu, Apostolos John Tsiouris and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Anterior skull base meningiomas are benign lesions that cause neurological symptoms through mass effect on adjacent neurovascular structures. While traditional transcranial approaches have proven to be effective at removing these tumors, minimally invasive approaches that involve using an endoscope offer the possibility of reducing brain and nerve retraction, minimizing incision size, and speeding patient recovery; however, appropriate case selection and results in large series are lacking.

METHODS

The authors developed an algorithm for selecting a supraorbital keyhole minicraniotomy (SKM) for olfactory groove meningiomas or an expanded endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) for tuberculum sella (TS) or planum sphenoidale (PS) meningiomas based on the presence or absence of olfaction and the anatomical extent of the tumor. Where neither approach is appropriate, a standard transcranial approach is utilized. The authors describe rates of gross-total resection (GTR), olfactory outcomes, and visual outcomes, as well as complications, for 7 subgroups of patients. Exceptions to the algorithm are also discussed.

RESULTS

The series of 57 patients harbored 57 anterior skull base meningiomas; the mean tumor volume was 14.7 ± 15.4 cm3 (range 2.2–66.1 cm3), and the mean follow-up duration was 42.2 ± 37.1 months (range 2–144 months). Of 19 patients with olfactory groove meningiomas, 10 had preserved olfaction and underwent SKM, and preservation of olfaction in was seen in 60%. Of 9 patients who presented without olfaction, 8 had cribriform plate invasion and underwent combined SKM and EEA (n = 3), bifrontal craniotomy (n = 3), or EEA (n = 2), and one patient without both olfaction and cribriform plate invasion underwent SKM. GTR was achieved in 94.7%. Of 38 TS/PS meningiomas, 36 of the lesions were treated according to the algorithm. Of these 36 meningiomas, 30 were treated by EEA and 6 by craniotomy. GTR was achieved in 97.2%, with no visual deterioration and one CSF leak that resolved by placement of a lumbar drain. Two patients with tumors that, based on the algorithm, were not amenable to an EEA underwent EEA nonetheless: one had GTR and the other had a residual tumor that was followed and removed via craniotomy 9 years later.

CONCLUSIONS

Utilizing a simple algorithm aimed at preserving olfaction and vision and based on maximizing use of minimally invasive approaches and selective use of transcranial approaches, the authors found that excellent outcomes can be achieved for anterior skull base meningiomas.

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Jonathan A. Forbes, Matei Banu, Kurt Lehner, Malte Ottenhausen, Emanuele La Corte, Andrew F. Alalade, Edgar G. Ordóñez-Rubiano, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Vijay K. Anand and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Epidermoid cysts (ECs) commonly extend to involve the ventral cisterns of the cranial base. When present, symptoms arise due to progressive mass effect on the brainstem and adjacent cranial nerves. Historically, a variety of open microsurgical approaches have been used for resection of ECs in this intricate region. In recent years, the endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) has been proposed as an alternative corridor that avoids crossing the plane of the cranial nerves. To date, there is a paucity of data in the literature regarding the safety and efficacy of the EEA in the treatment of ECs of the ventral cranial base.

METHODS

The authors reviewed a prospectively acquired database of EEAs for resection of ECs over 8 years at Weill Cornell, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. All procedures were performed by the senior authors. Standardized clinical and radiological parameters were assessed before and after surgery. Statistical tests were used to determine the impact of previous surgery and tumor volume on extent of resection and recurrence as well as the method of closure on rate of CSF leak.

RESULTS

Between January 2009 and February 2017, 7 patients (4 males and 3 females; age range 16–70 years) underwent a total of 8 surgeries for EC resection utilizing the EEA. Transplanum and transclival extensions were performed in 3 and 5 patients, respectively. Methods of closure incorporated a gasket seal in 6 of 8 procedures and a nasoseptal flap in 7 of 8 procedures. Gross-total resection (GTR) was achieved in 43% of patients, and near-total resection (> 95%) was obtained in another 43%. Complications included diabetes insipidus (n = 2), postoperative CSF leak (n = 2), transient third cranial nerve palsy (n = 1), and epistaxis (n = 1). With a mean follow-up of 43.5 months, recurrence has been observed in 2 of 7 patients. In 1 case, reoperation for recurrence was required 71 months following the initial surgery. Use of the gasket-seal technique with nasoseptal flap coverage significantly correlated with the absence of postoperative CSF leakage (p = 0.018). GTR was achieved in 25% of the patients who had prior surgeries and in 50% of patients without previous resections. The mean volume of cysts in which GTR was achieved (4.3 ± 1.8 cm3) was smaller than that in which subtotal or near-total resection was achieved (12.2 ± 11 cm3, p = 0.134).

CONCLUSIONS

The EEA for resection of ECs of the ventral cranial base is a safe and effective operative strategy that avoids crossing the plane of the cranial nerves. In the authors’ experience, gasket-seal closure with nasoseptal flap coverage has been associated with a decreased risk of postoperative CSF leakage.

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Matei A. Banu, Alpesh Mehta, Malte Ottenhausen, Justin F. Fraser, Kunal S. Patel, Oszkar Szentirmai, Vijay K. Anand, Apostolos J. Tsiouris and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECT

Although the endonasal endoscopic approach has been applied to remove olfactory groove meningiomas, controversy exists regarding the efficacy and safety of this approach compared with more traditional transcranial approaches. The endonasal endoscopic approach was compared with the supraorbital (eyebrow) keyhole technique, as well as a combined “above-and-below” approach, to evaluate the relative merits of each approach in different situations.

METHODS

Nineteen cases were reviewed and divided according to operative technique into 3 different groups: purely endonasal (6 cases); supraorbital eyebrow (microscopic with endoscopic assistance; 7 cases); and combined endonasal endoscopic with either the bicoronal or eyebrow microscopic approach (6 cases). Resection was judged on postoperative MRI using volumetric analysis. Tumors were assessed based on the Mohr radiological classification and the presence of the lion’s mane sign.

RESULTS

The mean age at surgery was 61.4 years. The mean tumor volume was 19.6 cm3 in the endonasal group, 33.5 cm3 in the supraorbital group, and 37.8 cm3 in the combined group. Significant frontal lobe edema was identified in 10 cases (52.6%). The majority of tumors were either Mohr Grade II (moderate) (42.1%) or Grade III (large) (47.4%). Gross-total resection was achieved in 50% of the endonasal cases, 100% of the supraorbital eyebrow cases with endoscopic assistance, and 66.7% of the combined cases. The extent of resection was 87.8% for the endonasal cases, 100% for the supraorbital eyebrow cases, and 98.9% for the combined cases. Postoperative anosmia occurred in 100% of the endonasal and combined cases and only 57.1% of the supraorbital eyebrow cases. Excluding anosmia, permanent complications occurred in 83.3% of the cases in the endoscopic group, 0% of the cases in the supraorbital eyebrow group, and 16.7% of cases in the combined group (p = 0.017). There were 3 tumor recurrences: 2 in the endonasal group and 1 in the combined group.

CONCLUSIONS

The supraorbital eyebrow approach, with endoscopic assistance, leads to a higher extent of resection and lower rate of complications than the purely endonasal endoscopic approach. The endonasal endoscopic approach by itself may be suitable for a small percentage of cases. The combined above-and-below approaches are useful for large tumors with invasion of the ethmoid sinuses.

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Matei A. Banu, Oszkar Szentirmai, Lino Mascarenhas, Al Amin Salek, Vijay K. Anand and Theodore H. Schwartz

Object

Postoperative pneumocephalus is a common occurrence after endoscopic endonasal skull base surgery (ESBS). The risk of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks can be high and the presence of postoperative pneumocephalus associated with serosanguineous nasal drainage may raise suspicion for a CSF leak. The authors hypothesized that specific patterns of pneumocephalus on postoperative imaging could be predictive of CSF leaks. Identification of these patterns could guide the postoperative management of patients undergoing ESBS.

Methods

The authors queried a prospectively acquired database of 526 consecutive ESBS cases at a single center between December 1, 2003, and May 31, 2012, and identified 258 patients with an intraoperative CSF leak documented using intrathecal fluorescein. Postoperative CT and MRI scans obtained within 1–10 days were examined and pneumocephalus was graded based on location and amount. A discrete 0–4 scale was used to classify pneumocephalus patterns based on size and morphology. Pneumocephalus was correlated with the surgical approach, histopathological diagnosis, and presence of a postoperative CSF leak.

Results

The mean follow-up duration was 56.7 months. Of the 258 patients, 102 (39.5%) demonstrated pneumocephalus on postoperative imaging. The most frequent location of pneumocephalus was frontal (73 [71.5%] of 102), intraventricular (34 [33.3%]), and convexity (22 [21.6%]). Patients with craniopharyngioma (27 [87%] of 31) and meningioma (23 [68%] of 34) had the highest incidence of postoperative pneumocephalus compared with patients with pituitary adenomas (29 [20.6%] of 141) (p < 0.0001). The incidence of pneumocephalus was higher with transcribriform and transethmoidal approaches (8 of [73%] 11) than with a transsellar approach (9 of [7%] 131). There were 15 (5.8%) of 258 cases of postoperative CSF leak, of which 10 (66.7%) had pneumocephalus, compared with 92 (38%) of 243 patients without a postoperative CSF leak (OR 3.3, p = 0.027). Pneumocephalus located in the convexity, interhemispheric fissure, sellar region, parasellar region, and perimesencephalic region was significantly correlated with a postoperative CSF leak (OR 4.9, p = 0.006) and was therefore termed “suspicious” pneumocephalus. In contrast, frontal or intraventricular pneumocephalus was not correlated with postoperative CSF leak (not significant) and was defined as “benign” pneumocephalus. The amount of convexity pneumocephalus (p = 0.002), interhemispheric pneumocephalus (p = 0.005), and parasellar pneumocephalus (p = 0.007) (determined using a scale score of 0–4) was also significantly related to postoperative CSF leaks. Using a series of permutation-based multivariate analyses, the authors established that a model containing the learning curve, the transclival/transcavernous approach, and the presence of “suspicious” pneumocephalus provides the best overall prediction for postoperative CSF leaks.

Conclusions

Postoperative pneumocephalus is much more common following extended approaches than following transsellar surgery. Merely the presence of pneumocephalus, particularly in the frontal or intraventricular locations, is not necessarily associated with a postoperative CSF leak. A “suspicious” pattern of air, namely pneumocephalus in the convexity, interhemispheric fissure, sella, parasellar, or perimesencephalic locations, is significantly associated with a postoperative CSF leak. The presence and the score of “suspicious” pneumocephalus on postoperative imaging, in conjunction with the learning curve and the type of endoscopic approach, provide the best predictive model for postoperative CSF leaks.