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Transsphenoidal surgery following unsuccessful prior therapy

An assessment of benefits and risks in 158 patients

Edward R. Laws Jr., Nicolee C. Fode and Michael J. Redmond

✓ The authors report the results of a retrospective study conducted in an effort to define the results and risks of transsphenoidal surgery for patients whose prior therapy had failed. In a series of 1210 patients undergoing transsphenoidal surgery during a 10-year period, 158 had received prior therapy: 127 for pituitary adenoma, 20 for craniopharyngioma, and 11 for other lesions. Prior therapy was considered “direct” when it consisted of craniotomy or transsphenoidal surgery (either open or stereotaxic), and “indirect” when it consisted of radiation therapy, adrenalectomy, or bromocriptine therapy. The current transsphenoidal operation was performed for persistent hyperfunctioning endocrinopathy in 63 patients, for visual loss in 72 patients, and for cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) rhinorrhea in 21 patients. Success rates were as follows: normalization of endocrinopathy was achieved in 35% of cases; improvement or stabilization of vision in 59%; and successful repair of CSF rhinorrhea in 74%. The risks associated with repeat transsphenoidal surgery are significantly greater than the same procedure in a previously untreated patient.

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Douglas Chyatte, Nicolee C. Fode and Thoralf M. Sundt Jr.

✓ The management results in 244 patients admitted to one institution within 3 days of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) from January, 1979, to December, 1985, were analyzed with respect to the timing of surgical intervention. Twenty-six patients died prior to surgery. Patients surviving to surgery were divided into three groups according to the interval between preadmission SAH and surgery: 0 to 3 days (85 cases), 4 to 9 days (83 cases), and 10 or more days (50 cases). Of the patients who were categorized neurologically into Botterell Grades 1 and 2 (Hunt and Hess Grades I to III) on admission, 87% had an excellent or good result on follow-up evaluation. Patients undergoing surgery 0 to 3 days after SAH had a statistically significant increase in the incidence of postoperative ischemic symptoms (p < 0.005), which was balanced by similar complications preoperatively in the 10-day post-SAH surgical group. Most rebleeds occurred before admission but delaying surgery did increase the risk of rebleeding in the hospital (p < 0.0005). Management morbidity and mortality occurred primarily as a direct result of a severe initial hemorrhage; thus, the measured benefits of early surgery were less than might have been predicted.

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Fredric B. Meyer, David G. Piepgras and Nicolee C. Fode

✓ Ninety-two surgical procedures were performed in 82 patients for recurrent carotid artery stenosis. The etiology was recurrent atherosclerosis in 45 cases, myointimal hyperplasia in 20, organized thrombus without a significant underlying plaque in 20, and scarring along the proximal arteriotomy site in seven. The operations included a repeat endarterectomy in 66 cases and reconstruction with an interposition graft in 22. All five major neurological complications occurred in symptomatic patients, and included three instances of intraoperative embolization during exposure of the carotid artery. The majority of neurological complications occurred in symptomatic patients who had intraluminal thrombus confirmed at surgery. There were four perioperative deaths, due to cerebral hemorrhage in two patients and myocardial infarction in two.

In the patients whose original surgery was performed at the Mayo Clinic, the risk of recurrent carotid artery stenosis was 3.1% with a primary closure compared to 1.6% when a patch graft was used. These results indicate that surgery for recurrent carotid artery stenosis is technically more difficult and carries a significantly higher risk than surgery for primary disease. The difficulty is due to the friable recurrent plaque associated with intraluminal thrombus, which increases the risk of embolization during carotid artery exposure. In the majority of patients with recurrent atherosclerosis, a repeat endarterectomy can be achieved. However, in some patients, there is scarring without a definite plane of cleavage between the recurrent disease and the underlying media, making an endarterectomy difficult. In these cases, excision of the diseased segment and reconstruction with an interposition graft is the best treatment. The findings presented here also suggest that closure of the original arteriotomy with a patch graft decreases the risk of recurrent carotid artery stenosis.

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Edward R. Laws Jr., Nicolee C. Fode, Raymond V. Randall, Charles F. Abboud and Carolyn B. Coulam

✓ This report describes 200 women in the childbearing age group with prolactin-secreting pituitary adenomas treated by transsphenoidal microsurgery. There were 136 patients with microadenomas (10 mm or less in diameter), 30 with macroadenomas, 11 with invasive adenomas, and one with hyperplasia. The overall rate for postoperative normalization of serum prolactin was 57%, and it was 72% for those patients with microadenomas. Pregnancy was desired by 90 women, and 78 (84%) became pregnant, although 10 required postoperative bromocriptine to do so. Serious postoperative complications were rare, and produced no major morbidity. The results of surgery were most favorable in women with microadenomas and preoperative serum prolactin levels of 100 ng/ml or less.

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Clifford R. Jack Jr., Thoralf M. Sundt Jr., Nicolee C. Fode and Dale G. Gehring

✓ Between 1974 and 1982, an anastomosis between a pedicle of the superficial temporal artery (STA) and a cortical branch of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) was performed in 163 carotid systems in 157 patients for internal carotid artery occlusion in whom postoperative angiograms were available for analysis. The angiographic opacification of the arterial system was correlated with the patient's preoperative neurological function and stroke in the follow-up period.

From this analysis, the following observations were made: 1) 96% of bypasses were patent; 2) 80% of bypasses achieved a high or medium MCA filling score; 3) there was hypertrophy of the STA in 70% of the cases; 4) greater bypass filling occurred in hemispheres with nonvisualized preoperative collateral circulation than in those with readily visualized collateral flow; 5) a meaningful correlation between angiographically assessed postoperative bypass function and stroke rate was not possible because only four patients suffered an ipsilateral hemispheric stroke in the 8-year follow-up period; and 6) patients who were neurologically unstable before the procedure were at greatest risk for a stroke in the follow-up period. It is apparent that objective analysis of the effectiveness of an STA-MCA bypass, or any other form of extracranial bypass, must await the development of new diagnostic studies in which high-resolution three-dimensional quantification of cerebral blood flow is possible. These studies will necessarily be correlated with preoperative and follow-up clinical data.

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Thoralf M. Sundt Jr., David G. Piepgras, W. Richard Marsh and Nicolee C. Fode

✓ The authors report their experience with the use of saphenous vein bypass grafts for treating advanced occlusive disease in the posterior circulation (77 patients, all of whom had failed medical management and showed severe ischemic symptoms), deteriorating patients with giant aneurysms of the posterior circulation (nine patients), progressive ischemia in the anterior circulation (26 patients, none of whom had a normal examination), and giant aneurysms in the anterior circulation (20 patients, all of whom presented with mass effect or subarachnoid hemorrhage). Graft patency in the first 65 cases treated was 74%. However, after significant technical changes of vein-graft preparation and construction of the proximal anastomosis, patency in the following 67 cases was 94%. Excellent or good results (including relief of deficits existing prior to surgery) were achieved in 71% of patients with advanced occlusive disease in the posterior circulation, 44% of those with giant aneurysms of the posterior circulation, 58% of those with ischemia of the anterior circulation, and 80% of those with giant aneurysms of the anterior circulation. Mean graft blood flow at surgery in the series was 100 ml/min for posterior circulation grafts and 110 ml/min for anterior circulation grafts. Experience to date indicates that this is a useful operation, and is particularly applicable to patients who are neurologically unstable from advanced intracranial occlusive disease in the posterior circulation or with giant aneurysms in the anterior circulation. The risk of hyperperfusion breakthrough with intracerebral hematoma restricts the technique in patients with progressing ischemic symptoms in the anterior circulation, and the intolerance of patients with fusiform aneurysms in the posterior circulation to the iatrogenic vertebrobasilar occlusion limits the applicability of this approach to otherwise inoperable lesions in that system.

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Results and complications of surgical management of 809 intracranial aneurysms in 722 cases

Related and unrelated to grade of patient, type of aneurysm, and timing of surgery

Thoralf M. Sundt Jr., Shigeaki Kobayashi, Nicolee C. Fode and Jack P. Whisnant

✓ Data from 722 consecutive cases with intracranial aneurysms were stored in a computer and later retrieved for analysis. Results and complications (including preoperative death and morbidity) of the surgical management of these patients were correlated with the Botterell grade of the patient in individuals with a recent subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), with the type of aneurysm, and with the timing of the surgical procedure. Patients with no SAH within 30 days prior to hospital admission were classified as “no SAH.” Approximately 30% of all patients had sustained more than one hemorrhage. Death and morbidity rates prior to surgery in good-grade patients with a recent SAH exceeded the risk of surgery itself. Rebleeding was the primary cause for death and morbidity in Grade 1 patients: 3% of Grade 1 patients died from a recurrent hemorrhage and 7% deteriorated to a lower grade. Deterioration from ischemia produced by vasospasm related or unrelated to rebleeding exceeded the risks of rebleeding in Grade 2 patients. There was an operative morbidity of 2% and mortality of 2% in patients who were classified as Grade 1 at the time of surgery, but an overall management morbidity of 3% and mortality of 6% in patients who were in Grade 1 at the time of hospital admission. Early surgery in Grade 1 patients was not associated with an increased incidence of delayed ischemia postoperatively. In Grade 2 patients, the operative morbidity and mortality was 7% and 4%, respectively, and the management morbidity and mortality 16% and 11%, respectively. Early surgery in this group was associated with a high frequency of postoperative delayed ischemia (particularly in patients with more than one SAH). Epsilon-aminocaproic acid appeared to protect against a rebleed, but was associated with a higher incidence of postoperative pulmonary emboli. Intraoperative complications were related both to the size of the aneurysm and to its location. Repair of multiple aneurysms did not adversely affect the result. The surgical approach, the importance of using a self-retaining brain retractor, and the technical complications in these cases are discussed.

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Francis H. Tomlinson, Daniel A. Rüfenacht, Thoralf M. Sundt Jr., Douglas A. Nichols and Nicolee C. Fode

✓ Arteriovenous (AV) fistulas of cerebral and spinal arteries are characterized angiographically by an immediate AV transition without a capillary bed or “nidus” as occurs in AV malformations (AVM's). The clinical presentation, morphology, radiology, and treatment of 12 patients with cerebral AV fistulas and of 12 patients with spinal AV fistulas are reviewed. In the patients with cerebral lesions, headache and seizure disorders were the most common presentations followed by subarachnoid hemorrhage, cardiac failure, progressive neurological dysfunction, and incidental detection on prenatal ultrasound study. In patients with spinal AV fistulas, weakness and sensory disturbance in the lower extremities were the most frequent clinical presentations followed by back pain, disturbances of micturition, and grand mal seizure. The etiology of the symptom complex produced by AV fistulas in each of these locations differed, with venous hypertension being important in spinal cord lesions.

Of the patients with cerebral lesions, nine had a single AV fistula, one had two fistulas, and two had multiple fistulas. An AVM was observed in five patients with fistulas (two large, three small). Nine patients exhibited extramedullary AV fistulas of the spine, of whom eight had a single fistula and one had three fistulas; three patients had intramedullary spinal AV fistulas. An arterial aneurysm was found in association with two fistulas, one cerebral and one spinal. Venous ectasias or varices, frequently exhibiting mural calcification, were observed to be prominent in all AV fistulas involving cerebral arteries and in two involving spinal arteries. The location and size of the venous complexes reflected the diameter of the fistula. In addition to conventional imaging techniques (cerebral angiography, computerized tomography, and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging), MR angiography was a helpful adjunct in the evaluation of fistulas. Treatment strategies employed for AV fistulas in both locations included open surgical and endovascular procedures, frequently used in combination. A satisfactory outcome was observed in all patients.

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Fredric B. Meyer, Thoralf M. Sundt Jr., Nicolee C. Fode, Michael K. Morgan, Glen S. Forbes and James F. Mellinger

✓ In this study, 24 aneurysms occurring in 23 patients under the age of 18 years (mean 12 years) are analyzed. The male:female ratio was 2.8:1, and the youngest patient was 3 months old. Mycotic lesions and those associated with other vascular malformations were excluded. Forty-two percent of the aneurysms were located in the posterior circulation, and 54% were giant aneurysms. Presenting symptoms included subarachnoid hemorrhage in 13 and mass effect in 11. Several of these aneurysms were documented to rapidly increase in size over a 3-month to 2-year period of observation. All aneurysms were surgically treated: direct clipping was performed in 14; trapping with bypass in four; trapping alone in four; and direct excision with end-to-end anastomosis in two. The postoperative results were excellent in 21 aneurysms (87%), good in two (8%), and poor in one. The pathogenesis of cerebral aneurysms is reviewed.