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Niklaus Krayenbühl and Ali F. Krisht

✓The combination of surgical and endovascular treatment for complex intracranial aneurysms has previously been used in a staged fashion. To perfect the clipping process of a complex anterior communicating artery aneurysm and to avoid a second staged procedure, the authors used a method of direct intraoperative transaneurysmal coil-assisted clip occlusion of the aneurysm.

To the authors' knowledge this is the first time direct intraoperative transaneurysmal coil-assisted clip occlusion has been reported. It should be kept in mind as one of the options to help in complete obliteration of complex intracranial aneurysms.

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Niklaus Krayenbühl, Carlos A. Guerrero and Ali F. Krisht

Object

Aneurysms of the vertebral artery (VA) and proximal posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) are rare and challenging lesions, as they are located in front of the brainstem and surrounded by the lower cranial nerves. Many different approaches have been described for their treatment, and have yielded different results. With the use of different examples of lesions, the authors describe their surgical strategy in the management of VA and PICA aneurysms.

Methods

The far-lateral approach was used, and the potential of its different extensions according to the specific anatomical location and configuration of different types of aneurysms is emphasized.

Conclusions

With the present knowledge of the microsurgical anatomy in the region of the foramen magnum, the far-lateral approach can be tailored to the specific anatomical and morphological configuration of an aneurysm in this region with good surgical results.

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Johannes Sarnthein, Nader Hejrati, Marian C. Neidert, Alexander M. Huber and Niklaus Krayenbühl

Object

During surgeries that put the facial nerve at risk for injury, its function can be continuously monitored by transcranial facial nerve motor evoked potentials (FNMEPs) in facial nerve target muscles. Despite their advantages, FNMEPs are not yet widely used. While most authors use a 50% reduction in FNMEP response amplitudes as a warning criterion, in this paper the authors' approach was to keep the response amplitude constant by increasing the stimulation intensity and to establish a warning criterion based on the “threshold-level” method.

Methods

The authors included 34 consecutive procedures involving 33 adult patients (median age 47 years) in whom FNMEPs were monitored. A threshold increase greater than 20 mA for eliciting FNMEPs in the most reliable facial nerve target muscle was considered a prediction of reduced postoperative facial nerve function, and subsequently a warning was issued to the surgeon. Preoperative and early postoperative function was documented using the House-Brackmann grading system.

Results

Monitoring of FNMEPs was feasible in all 34 surgeries in at least one facial nerve target muscle. The mentalis muscle yielded the best results. The House-Brackmann grade deteriorated in 17 (50%) of 34 cases. The warning criterion was reached in 18 (53%) of 34 cases, which predicted an 83% risk of House-Brackmann grade deterioration. Sensitivity amounted to 88% (CI 64%–99%) and specificity to 82% (CI 57%–96%). Deterioration of FNMEPs and a worse House-Brackmann grade showed a high degree of association (p < 0.001). The impact of FNMEP monitoring on surgical strategy is exemplified in an illustrative case.

Conclusions

In surgeries that put the facial nerve at risk, the intraoperative increase in FNMEP stimulation threshold was closely correlated to postoperative facial nerve dysfunction. Monitoring of FNMEPs is a valid indicator of facial nerve function in skull base surgery. It should be used as an adjunct to direct electrical facial nerve stimulation and continuous electromyographic monitoring of facial nerve target muscles.

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Carlo Serra, Lelio Guida, Victor E. Staartjes, Niklaus Krayenbühl and Uğur Türe

The authors report on and discuss the historical evolution of the 3 intellectual and scientific domains essential for the current understanding of the function of the human thalamus: 1) the identification of the thalamus as a distinct anatomical and functional entity, 2) the subdivision of thalamic gray matter into functionally homogeneous units (the thalamic nuclei) and relative disputes about nuclei nomenclature, and 3) experimental physiology and its limitations.

Galen was allegedly the first to identify the thalamus. The etymology of the term remains unknown although it is hypothesized that Galen may have wanted to recall the thalamus of Odysseus. Burdach was the first to clearly and systematically define the thalamus and its macroscopic anatomy, which paved the way to understanding its internal microarchitecture. This structure in turn was studied in both nonhuman primates (Friedemann) and humans (Vogt and Vogt), leading to several discrepancies in the findings because of interspecies differences. As a consequence, two main nomenclatures developed, generating sometimes inconsistent (or nonreproducible) anatomo-functional correlations. Recently, considerable effort has been aimed at producing a unified nomenclature, based mainly on functional data, which is indispensable for future developments. The development of knowledge about macro- and microscopic anatomy has allowed a shift from the first galenic speculations about thalamic function (the “thalamus opticorum nervorum”) to more detailed insights into the sensory and motor function of the thalamus in the 19th and 20th centuries. This progress is mostly the result of lesion and tracing studies. Direct evidence of the in vivo function of the human thalamus, however, originates from awake stereotactic procedures only.

Our current knowledge about the function of the human thalamus is the result of a long process that occurred over several centuries and has been inextricably intermingled with the increasing accumulation of data about thalamic macro- and microscopic anatomy. Although the thalamic anatomy can currently be considered well understood, further studies are still needed to gain a deeper insight into the function of the human thalamus in vivo.

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Marta Rossetto, Luca Persano, Renato Scienza and Alessandro Della Puppa

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M. Gazi Yaşargil, Niklaus Krayenbühl, Peter Roth, Sanford P. C. Hsu and Dianne C. H. Yaşargil

Object

The proximal (anterior) transsylvian approach through a pterional craniotomy was developed by the senior author (M.G.Y.) in 1967 for the microsurgical treatment of saccular aneurysms of the circle of Willis, frontoorbital and temporobasal arteriovenous malformations, cavernomas, and extrinsic and intrinsic tumors. The acquired positive surgical experiences on this large series enabled the senior author, in 1973, to apply this approach for the selective amygdalohippocampectomy in patients with intractable mesial temporal lobe epilepsy.

Methods

The proximal (anterior) transsylvian-transamygdala approach to the mesial temporal structures permits the selective two-thirds resection of the amygdala and hippocampus-parahippocampus in an anteroinferior to posteroinferior exploration axis along the base of the semicircular temporal horn. This strategy ensures preservation of the overlying neopallial temporal convolutions such as the T1, T2, T3, and T4 gyri as well as the related subcortical connective fiber systems and other essential components of the temporal white matter.

The application of rigid brain self-retaining retractor systems was strictly avoided during the entire procedure. Computer-assisted navigation was never used. On routine postoperative CT scanning and MR imaging studies, infarction was not observed in any patient. The availability of tractography technology has proven that the connective fiber system around the resected mesial temporal area remains intact.

Results

The surgical outcome and results on neoplastic and vascular lesions of the mesiobasal temporal region have been presented in Volumes II, IIIB, and IVB of Microneurosurgery. The surgical outcomes and results in 102 patients with mesial temporal seizures who underwent surgery performed by the senior author in Zürich have been previously published.

In this paper, 73 patients who underwent surgery between 1994 and September 2006 in Little Rock, Arkansas, are presented, and 13 other patients are excluded who underwent surgery after September 2006. Altogether, among 188 patients who underwent surgery, there was no surgical mortality or morbidity, and no neurological deficits, new neurocognitive dysfunction, or impairments of the preoperative incapacities.

Conclusions

The surgical outcome in terms of seizures was rewarding in the majority of patients, particularly in those who exhibited the following irregularities on preoperative investigations: regular local dysfunctions on electroencephalography, dysmorphic changes in the mesiobasal temporal parenchyma on MR imaging studies, and hypometabolism in the anterior third of the temporal lobe on PET studies.

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Carlo Serra, Kevin Akeret, Victor E. Staartjes, Georgia Ramantani, Thomas Grunwald, Hennric Jokeit, Julia Bauer and Niklaus Krayenbühl

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to assess the reproducibility and safety of the recently introduced paramedian supracerebellar–transtentorial (PST) approach for selective amygdalohippocampectomy (SA).

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data originating from their surgical register of patients undergoing SA via a PST approach for lesional medial temporal lobe epilepsy. All patients received thorough pre- and postoperative clinical (neurological, neuropsychological, psychiatric) and instrumental (ictal and long-term EEG, invasive EEG if needed, MRI) workup. Surgery-induced complications were assessed at discharge and at every follow-up thereafter and were classified according to Clavien-Dindo grade (CDG). Epilepsy outcome was defined according to Engel classification. Data were reported according to common descriptive statistical methods.

RESULTS

Between May 2015 and May 2018, 17 patients underwent SA via a PST approach at the authors’ institution (hippocampal sclerosis in 13 cases, WHO grade II glioma in 2 cases, and reactive gliosis in 2 cases). The median postoperative follow-up was 7 months (mean 9 months, range 3–19 months). There was no surgery-related mortality and no complication (CDG ≥ 2) in the whole series. Transitory CDG 1 surgical complications occurred in 4 patients and had resolved in all of them by the first postoperative follow-up. One patient showed a deterioration of neuropsychological performance with new slight mnestic deficits. No patient experienced a clinically relevant postoperative visual field defect. No morbidity due to semisitting position was recorded. At last follow-up 13/17 (76.4%) patients were in Engel class I (9/17 [52.9%] were in class IA).

CONCLUSIONS

The PST approach is a reproducible and safe surgical route for SA. The achievable complication rate is in line with the best results in the literature. Visual function outcome particularly benefits from this highly selective, neocortex-sparing approach. A larger patient sample and longer follow-up will show in the future if the seizure control rate and neuropsychological outcome also compare better than those achieved with current common surgical techniques.

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Kevin Akeret, David Bellut, Hans-Jürgen Huppertz, Georgia Ramantani, Kristina König, Carlo Serra, Luca Regli and Niklaus Krayenbühl

OBJECTIVE

Surgery has proven to be the best therapeutic option for drug-refractory cases of focal cortical dysplasia (FCD)–associated epilepsy. Seizure outcome primarily depends on the completeness of resection, rendering the intraoperative FCD identification and delineation particularly important. This study aims to assess the diagnostic yield of intraoperative ultrasound (IOUS) in surgery for FCD-associated drug-refractory epilepsy.

METHODS

The authors prospectively enrolled 15 consecutive patients with drug-refractory epilepsy who underwent an IOUS-assisted microsurgical resection of a radiologically suspected FCD between January 2013 and July 2016. The findings of IOUS were compared with those of presurgical MRI postprocessing and the sonographic characteristics were analyzed in relation to the histopathological findings. The authors investigated the added value of IOUS in achieving completeness of resection and improving postsurgical seizure outcome.

RESULTS

The neurosurgeon was able to identify the dysplastic tissue by IOUS in all cases. The visualization of FCD type I was more challenging compared to FCD II and the demarcation of its borders was less clear. Postsurgical MRI showed residual dysplasia in 2 of the 3 patients with FCD type I. In all FCD type II cases, IOUS allowed for a clear intraoperative visualization and demarcation, strongly correlating with presurgical MRI postprocessing. Postsurgical MRI confirmed complete resection in all FCD type II cases. Sonographic features correlated with the histopathological classification of dysplasia (sonographic abnormalities increase continuously in the following order: FCD IA/IB, FCD IC, FCD IIA, FCD IIB). In 1 patient with IOUS features atypical for FCD, histopathological investigation showed nonspecific gliosis.

CONCLUSIONS

Morphological features of FCD, as identified by IOUS, correlate well with advanced presurgical imaging. The resolution of IOUS was superior to MRI in all FCD types. The appreciation of distinct sonographic features on IOUS allows the intraoperative differentiation between FCD and non-FCD lesions as well as the discrimination of different histological subtypes of FCD. Sonographic demarcation depends on the underlying degree of dysplasia. IOUS allows for more tailored resections by facilitating the delineation of the dysplastic tissue.

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Jan-Karl Burkhardt, Pascal O. Zinn, Muriel Graenicher, Alejandro Santillan, Oliver Bozinov, Ekkehard M. Kasper and Niklaus Krayenbühl

Object

Some patients develop communicating hydrocephalus after meningioma surgery, and this can develop into a serious clinical condition. However, this has rarely been addressed in the literature. Therefore, the authors sought to determine predictive patient variables for the occurrence of postoperative hydrocephalus following skull base meningioma surgery.

Methods

For this purpose, the authors retrospectively analyzed all patients who underwent resection of intracranial meningiomas between 1998 and 2009 at the Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland. Of 594 patients with meningioma, 227 (38%) had a lesion located at the skull base, and thus were included for analysis. The following patient variables were examined: demographic data (age and sex); tumor number (solitary vs multiple); tumor side and localization within the skull base region (anterior, medial, posterior); infiltration of the cavernous sinus; compression of the optic channel/optic nerve; tumor volume; preoperative embolization (yes/no); duration of surgery; Simpson grade of resection; histopathological features (WHO grade); number of surgeries (single vs multiple); preoperative embolization; duration of hospital stay; tumor recurrence; use of an artificial dural substitute; postoperative infection rate; and clinical outcome (Glasgow Outcome Scale score at discharge and at 3 months, and vital status at last follow-up). Hierarchical clustering, factor analysis, and stepwise regression models revealed a ranking list for the top predictive variables for the occurrence of postoperative hydrocephalus.

Results

A total of 35 patients (5.9%) of the cohort of 594 developed communicating postoperative hydrocephalus, with no patient manifesting obstructive hydrocephalus. Of these 35 patients, 18 had a meningioma located at the skull base (18 [7.9%] of 227), in contrast to 17 patients with meningiomas in other locations (17 [4.6%] of 367). The following patient variables correlated with the occurrence of hydrocephalus, as defined by factor analysis: age, duration of surgery, duration of hospital stay, tumor volume, postoperative infection, and preoperative embolization. A stepwise regression analysis of the latter variables identified 2 variables as significantly predictive: age (p = 0.0012) and duration of surgery (p = 0.0013).

Conclusions

In this study, the incidence of communicating postoperative hydrocephalus was almost twice as high in patients with skull base lesions as in patients with meningiomas in other locations. Patient age, duration of surgery, duration of hospital stay, tumor volume, postoperative infection, and preoperative embolization were associated with the occurrence of hydrocephalus. In the statistical prediction model, patient age and duration of surgery were the most significant predictors of postoperative hydrocephalus after skull base meningioma surgery.

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Victor E. Staartjes, Morgan Broggi, Costanza Maria Zattra, Flavio Vasella, Julia Velz, Silvia Schiavolin, Carlo Serra, Jiri Bartek Jr., Alexander Fletcher-Sandersjöö, Petter Förander, Darius Kalasauskas, Mirjam Renovanz, Florian Ringel, Konstantin R. Brawanski, Johannes Kerschbaumer, Christian F. Freyschlag, Asgeir S. Jakola, Kristin Sjåvik, Ole Solheim, Bawarjan Schatlo, Alexandra Sachkova, Hans Christoph Bock, Abdelhalim Hussein, Veit Rohde, Marike L. D. Broekman, Claudine O. Nogarede, Cynthia M. C. Lemmens, Julius M. Kernbach, Georg Neuloh, Oliver Bozinov, Niklaus Krayenbühl, Johannes Sarnthein, Paolo Ferroli, Luca Regli, Martin N. Stienen and FEBNS

OBJECTIVE

Decision-making for intracranial tumor surgery requires balancing the oncological benefit against the risk for resection-related impairment. Risk estimates are commonly based on subjective experience and generalized numbers from the literature, but even experienced surgeons overestimate functional outcome after surgery. Today, there is no reliable and objective way to preoperatively predict an individual patient’s risk of experiencing any functional impairment.

METHODS

The authors developed a prediction model for functional impairment at 3 to 6 months after microsurgical resection, defined as a decrease in Karnofsky Performance Status of ≥ 10 points. Two prospective registries in Switzerland and Italy were used for development. External validation was performed in 7 cohorts from Sweden, Norway, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands. Age, sex, prior surgery, tumor histology and maximum diameter, expected major brain vessel or cranial nerve manipulation, resection in eloquent areas and the posterior fossa, and surgical approach were recorded. Discrimination and calibration metrics were evaluated.

RESULTS

In the development (2437 patients, 48.2% male; mean age ± SD: 55 ± 15 years) and external validation (2427 patients, 42.4% male; mean age ± SD: 58 ± 13 years) cohorts, functional impairment rates were 21.5% and 28.5%, respectively. In the development cohort, area under the curve (AUC) values of 0.72 (95% CI 0.69–0.74) were observed. In the pooled external validation cohort, the AUC was 0.72 (95% CI 0.69–0.74), confirming generalizability. Calibration plots indicated fair calibration in both cohorts. The tool has been incorporated into a web-based application available at https://neurosurgery.shinyapps.io/impairment/.

CONCLUSIONS

Functional impairment after intracranial tumor surgery remains extraordinarily difficult to predict, although machine learning can help quantify risk. This externally validated prediction tool can serve as the basis for case-by-case discussions and risk-to-benefit estimation of surgical treatment in the individual patient.