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Robert F. Spetzler and Neil A. Martin

✓ An important factor in making a recommendation for treatment of a patient with arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is to estimate the risk of surgery for that patient. A simple, broadly applicable grading system that is designed to predict the risk of morbidity and mortality attending the operative treatment of specific AVM's is proposed. The lesion is graded on the basis of size, pattern of venous drainage, and neurological eloquence of adjacent brain. All AVM's fall into one of six grades. Grade I malformations are small, superficial, and located in non-eloquent cortex; Grade V lesions are large, deep, and situated in neurologically critical areas; and Grade VI lesions are essentially inoperable AVM's.

Retrospective application of this grading scheme to a series of surgically excised AVM's has demonstrated its correlation with the incidence of postoperative neurological complications. The application of a standardized grading scheme will enable a comparison of results between various clinical series and between different treatment techniques, and will assist in the process of management decision-making.

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Neil A. Martin and Charles B. Wilson

✓ In a consecutive operative series of 115 intracranial arteriovenous malformations (AVM's), 16 occupied the medial occipital region. Typically, the patients with medial occipital AVM's presented with bleeding, often accompanied by homonymous visual field deficit, or with migrainous headache. The malformations were supplied principally by branches of the posterior cerebral artery. Through an occipital craniotomy, a surgical approach along the junction of the falx and tentorium provided access to the arteries feeding the AVM and facilitated excision of the malformation. There were no deaths in the series. The incidence of visual field deficit after the operation varied, but in only five cases was the visual field worsened postoperatively. All patients who had a history of intractable headache were cured or improved after surgery. These lesions are favorably situated for surgical treatment.

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Robert F. Spetzler and Neil A. Martin

✓ An important factor in making a recommendation for treatment of a patient with arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is to estimate the risk of surgery for that patient. A simple, broadly applicable grading system that is designed to predict the risk of morbidity and mortality attending the operative treatment of specific AVM's is proposed. The lesion is graded on the basis of size, pattern of venous drainage, and neurological eloquence of adjacent brain. All AVM's fall into one of six grades. Grade I malformations are small, superficial, and located in non-eloquent cortex; Grade V lesions are large, deep, and situated in neurologically critical areas; and Grade VI lesions are essentially inoperable AVM's.

Retrospective application of this grading scheme to a series of surgically excised AVM's has demonstrated its correlation with the incidence of postoperative neurological complications. The application of a standardized grading scheme will enable a comparison of results between various clinical series and between different treatment techniques, and will assist in the process of management decision-making.

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Wesley A. King, Grant B. Hieshima and Neil A. Martin

✓ An attempt at transfemoral transarterial balloon occlusion of a high-flow spontaneous carotid-cavernous fistula was unsuccessful because the carotid artery rent was too small for this approach. During a subsequent transvenous approach to the cavernous sinus through the jugular vein, the inferior petrosal sinus was perforated. A minor subarachnoid hemorrhage occurred before the tear could be sealed by the deposition of three Gianturco coils in the vein. The patient was taken to the operating room for emergency obliteration of the fistula and petrosal sinus in order to remove the risk of further hemorrhage. Under the guidance of intraoperative digital subtraction angiography, isobutyl-2-cyanoacrylate was injected directly into the surgically exposed cavernous sinus. Successful obliteration of the fistula was achieved with preservation of the carotid artery, and the angiography catheter was removed safely from the petrosal sinus. Although initially after surgery the patient had nearly complete ophthalmoplegia, at her 1-year follow-up examination she had normal ocular motility and visual acuity. The transvenous approach to the cavernous sinus and alternative methods of treatment of carotid-cavernous fistulas are discussed.

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Neil A. Martin, Martha Hales and Charles B. Wilson

✓ A 31-year-old woman developed a cerebellar metastasis from an invasive prolactin-secreting pituitary adenoma while undergoing treatment with bromocriptine. The metastatic tumor was totally excised. Metastatic spread of pituitary tumors within the central nervous system is reviewed briefly.

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Neil A. Martin, Rohit K. Khanna and Ulrich Batzdorf

✓ This report describes a technique for exposing the ventrolateral quadrant of the spinal cord through an extended posterolateral approach that can be used in both cervical and thoracic regions. The surgical technique includes the following: 1) a midline skin incision with a transverse extension at the level of pathology; 2) unilateral division and retraction of the paraspinous muscles; 3) laminectomy and unilateral removal of facets and pedicles; 4) dural incision over the dorsal root entry zone; 5) multilevel division of the ipsilateral dentate ligaments; and 6) elevation and rotation of the spinal cord with dentate traction stitches. This technique provides exposure of the ventral root entry zone, the ipsilateral half of the ventral surface of the cord, and the anterior spinal artery. The surface of the spinal cord beyond the anterior spinal artery is not seen.

This approach has been used for the treatment of seven ventrolateral spinal cord lesions: five spinal arteriovenous malformations (two Type II, one Type III, two Type IV), one hemangioblastoma, and one cavernous angioma. All the lesions were completely excised. Two patients had mild new neurological deficit after surgery, and one adolescent developed mild asymptomatic thoracic kyphosis, but no other spinal instability was observed over a follow-up period of 1 to 4 years. This operative approach provides significant advantages for ventrolateral perimedullary or intramedullary lesions of the cervical or thoracic spinal cord.

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Vincent J. Miele, Julian E. Bailes and Neil A. Martin

✓Despite a plethora of guidelines for return to play following mild head injury, a discussion of when and if an athlete should be allowed to participate in contact or collision sports if he or she sustains a structural brain lesion or after a head injury requiring craniotomy is lacking. The structural lesions discussed include arachnoid cyst, Chiari malformation Type I, cavum septum pellucidum, and the presence of ventriculoperitoneal shunts. Issues unique to this population with respect to the possibility of increased risk of head injury are addressed. The population of athletes with epilepsy and certain genetic risk factors is also discussed. Finally, the ability of athletes to participate in contact or collision sports after undergoing craniotomies for traumatic or congenital abnormalities is evaluated. Several known instances of athletes returning to contact sports following craniotomy are also reviewed.

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Nancy McLaughlin, Aaron Cutler and Neil A. Martin

The supraorbital keyhole approach offers a limited access for aneurysms located at the middle cerebral artery (MCA) bifurcation with long M1 segments or proximal M2 aneurysms. Alternative minimally invasive routes centered on the pterion have been developed to address these aneurysms. Appropriate dissection and reconstruction of the temporal muscle are important for optimal exposure and best cosmetic results with the pterional keyhole craniotomy. The authors describe the technical nuances of temporal muscle dissection and reconstruction adapted to the pterional keyhole craniotomy.

After incising the scalp in a curvilinear fashion behind the hairline, an interfascial dissection is performed, allowing anterior reflection of the superficial temporal fat pat and superficial temporal fascia. The temporal muscle is incised 7–10 mm below its insertion at the superior temporal line. The deep temporal fascia and temporal muscle are incised vertically, completing a T-shaped incision. Subperiosteal dissection of both muscle flaps preserves the deep temporal arteries and nerves. A craniotomy measuring 2.5–3 cm in diameter, based anteriorly at the pterion, is made over the sylvian fissure. Dissection of the sylvian fissure and of MCA aneurysms can proceed without the use of retractors. The bone flap and associated hardware is entirely covered by the temporal muscle, which is reconstructed in 2 layers: the temporal muscle/deep temporal fascia and the superficial temporal fascia.

This dissection technique prevents damage to branches of the facial nerve and minimizes temporal muscle damage. Dividing the temporal muscle vertically and reflecting both parts anteriorly and posteriorly prevents suboptimal illumination and visualization under the microscope. Covering the bone flap and related hardware with a multilayer anatomical reconstruction optimizes cosmetic results.

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Nancy McLaughlin and Neil A. Martin

Numerous surgical techniques have been developed and refined for the treatment of moyamoya disease. Among the indirect techniques of revascularization, encephaloduroarteriosynangiosis has been recognized as effective in promoting revascularization and reversing symptomatology. Neovascularization occurs between the donor artery, either the superficial temporal artery or the occipital artery, and the underlying ischemic cortex. Additionally, the middle meningeal artery and its dural branches have also been shown to contribute to collateral blood supply. In this report the authors describe an integrated management of the meninges for optimal revascularization. They emphasize the importance of recognizing the 3 major layers of the dura and describe a technique of dural splitting at the locus minoris resistentiae between the dura mater's vascular (middle) layer and internal median layer. Applying the dura's vascular layer to the surface of the brain after opening of the arachnoid is designed to optimize dural-pial synangiosis related to middle meningeal artery branches.