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Nader Sanai and Michael W. McDermott

Object

Resecting large meningiomas along the posterior fossa convexity or cerebellopontine angle (CPA) through a suboccipital approach can be challenging. Limitations include a restricted angle of view, high venous pressures, and suboptimal brain relaxation. While a far-lateral craniotomy is a viable alternative, the risks associated with condylar resection are undesirable.

Methods

The authors retrospectively evaluated a modified far-lateral approach in a consecutive series of 12 patients with large or giant posterior fossa convexity and CPA meningiomas. This approach incorporates transverse-sigmoid sinus exposure and C-1 laminectomy, but there is no condylar resection.

Results

Between January 2006 and February 2008, 12 patients (mean age 52 years) presented with large or giant meningiomas of the posterior fossa convexity or CPA. The mean tumor volume was 72.6 cm3 (range 8–131 cm3). Signs and symptoms at presentation included headache (in 8 patients), cranial neuropathy (in 4), and progressive hemiparesis (in 4). There were no operative complications, and the majority of patients (9) had Simpson Grade I or II resections. There were no new permanent neurological deficits following resection, although 2 patients (17%) had transient deficits. The mean modified Rankin score decreased from 2.2 preoperatively to 0.6 postoperatively.

Conclusions

A modified far-lateral approach to the posterior fossa and CPA allows for safe, and often total, resection of large meningiomas with minimal morbidity. While avoiding the risks of condylar resection, this microsurgical strategy allows for greater field of view, minimal venous bleeding, and immediate access to the spinal subarachnoid space.

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Kurtis I. Auguste and Michael W. McDermott

Object

When complicated by infection, craniotomy bone flaps are commonly removed, discarded, and delayed cranioplasty is performed. This treatment paradigm is costly, carries the risks associated with additional surgery, and may cause cosmetic deformities. The authors present their experience with an indwelling antibiotic irrigation system used for the sterilization and salvage of infected bone flaps as an alternative to their removal and replacement.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the medical records for 12 patients with bone flap infections following craniotomy who received treatment with the wash-in, wash-out indwelling antibiotic irrigation system. Infected flaps were removed and scrubbed with povidone–iodine solution and soaked in 1.5% hydrogen peroxide while the wound was debrided. The bone flaps were returned to the skull and the irrigation system was installed. Antibiotic medication was infused through the system for a mean of 5 days. Intravenous antibiotic therapy was continued for 2 weeks and oral antibiotics for 3 months postoperatively. Wound checks were performed at clinic follow-up visits, and there was a mean follow-up period of 13 months. Eleven of the 12 patients who had undergone placement of the bone flap irrigation system experienced complete resolution of the infection. In five patients there was involvement of the nasal sinus cavities, and in four there was a history of radiation treatment. In the one patient whose infection recurred, there was both involvement of the nasal sinuses and a history of extensive radiation treatment.

Conclusions

Infected bone flaps can be salvaged, thus avoiding the cost, risk, and possible disfigurement associated with flap removal and delayed cranioplasty. Although prior radiation treatment and involvement of the nasal sinuses may interfere with wound healing and clearance of the infection, these factors should not preclude the use of irrigation with antibiotic agents for bone flap salvage.

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Michael W. McDermott, Kenji Ohata and Vladimir Benes

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Fred G. Barker II and Michael W. McDermott

An important goal of the Section on Tumors of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) since its founding in 1985 has been to foster both education and research in the field of brain tumor treatment. As one means of achieving this, the Section awards a number of prizes, research grants, and named lectures at the annual meetings of the AANS and CNS. After a brief examination of similar honors that were given in recognition of pioneering work by Knapp, Cushing, and other early brain tumor researchers, the authors describe the various awards given by the AANS/CNS Section on Tumors since its founding, their philanthropic donors, and the recipients of the awards. The subsequent career of the recipients is briefly examined, in terms of the rate of full publication of award-winning abstracts and achievement of grant funding by awardees.

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John H. Chi and Michael W. McDermott

Tuberculum sellae meningiomas are a classic tumor of the anterior fossa that present in patients with gradual visual deterioration secondary to optic apparatus compression. If untreated, complete blindness can occur. Treatment involves tumor removal and decompression of the optic chiasm via several operative approaches. Gross-total resection (Simpson Grade I or II) is the goal of treatment and can usually be accomplished safely. Special excision-related considerations include appreciation of arachnoid planes separating the tumor from neural tissue, adequate drilling of osseous elements for optimal exposure, and intraoperative preservation of the vascular supply to the optic apparatus. The authors reviewed their experience at the University of California, San Francisco, in cases of tuberculum sellae meningiomas treated between 1992 and 2002. In most patients, improvement of vision can be achieved with minimal postoperative complications and morbidity.

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Jacques J. Morcos

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Michael E. Sughrue, Michael W. McDermott and Andrew T. Parsa

Clinical approaches to the surgical management of optic chiasm compression stress quick action, as several case series have demonstrated minimal vision restoration following aggressive decompression in patients presenting more than 3 days after the onset of blindness. The authors here report the case of a 48-year-old woman who presented with near-complete binocular vision loss but regained visual function following surgical removal of a giant planum-tuberculum meningioma, which was performed 8 days after a documented loss in light perception. The interval between the patient's vision loss and successful vision-restoring decompressive surgery is the longest recorded to date in the literature. This case shows the importance of aggressive decompression of mass lesions despite extended intervals of optic nerve dysfunction.

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Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, Edward F. Chang and Michael W. McDermott

Object

Meningiomas arising from the falcotentorial junction are rare. As a result, their clinical presentation and surgical management are not well described. During the past 3 years, the authors have treated six patients with falcotentorial meningiomas.

Methods

Most patients presented with symptoms related to raised intracranial pressure, including headaches, papilledema, and visual and gait disturbances. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a smooth, oval, or round mass, which was typically homogeneously enhancing. Angiography was useful in evaluating arterial supply for embolization, when possible, and determining the status of venous collateral supply and sinus patency. The authors detail the surgical technique used in all six patients. Postoperatively, patients experienced transient cortical blindness, which in all cases spontaneously resolved during the course of several days to weeks. They provide a comprehensive description of the presentation and surgical management of falcotentorial meningiomas.

Conclusions

An excellent outcome can be expected when surgery is predicated on detailed preoperative neuroimaging and knowledge of the nuances of the surgical technique.

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Joao Paulo Almeida and Fred Gentili

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Editorial

Giant meningiomas of the posterior fossa

Madjid Samii and Venelin M. Gerganov