Extended endoscopic endonasal approaches have allowed for a minimally invasive solution for removal of a variety of ventral skull base lesions, including intradural tumors. Depending on the location of the pathological entity, various types of surgical corridors are used, such as transcribriform, transplanum transtuberculum, transsellar, transclival, and transodontoid approaches. Often, a large skull base dural defect with a high-flow CSF leak is created after endoscopic skull base surgery. Successful reconstruction of the cranial base defect is paramount to separate the intracranial contents from the paranasal sinus contents and to prevent postoperative CSF leakage. The vascularized pedicled nasoseptal flap (PNSF) has become the workhorse for cranial base reconstruction after endoscopic skull base surgery, dramatically reducing the rate of postoperative CSF leakage since its implementation. In this report, the authors review the surgical technique and describe the operative nuances and lessons learned for successful multilayered PNSF reconstruction of cranial base defects with high-flow CSF leaks created after endoscopic skull base surgery. The authors specifically highlight important surgical pearls that are critical for successful PNSF reconstruction, including target-specific flap design and harvesting, pedicle preservation, preparation of bony defect and graft site to optimize flap adherence, multilayered closure technique, maximization of the reach of the flap, final flap positioning, and proper bolstering and buttressing of the PNSF to prevent flap dehiscence. Using this technique in 93 patients, the authors' overall postoperative CSF leak rate was 3.2%. An illustrative intraoperative video demonstrating the reconstruction technique is also presented.
James K. Liu, Richard F. Schmidt, Osamah J. Choudhry, Pratik A. Shukla, and Jean Anderson Eloy
Osamah J. Choudhry, Lana D. Christiano, Rahul Singh, Barbara M. Golden, and James K. Liu
Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) has been reported to cause early inflammatory changes, ectopic bony formation, adjacent level fusion, radiculitis, and osteolysis. The authors describe the case of a patient who developed inflammatory fibroblastic cyst formation around the BMP sponge after a lumbar fusion, resulting in compressive lumbar radiculopathy. A 70-year-old woman presented with left L-4 and L-5 radiculopathy caused by a Grade I spondylolisthesis with a left herniated disc at L4–5. She underwent a minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion with BMP packed into the interbody cage at L4–5. Her neurological symptoms resolved immediately postoperatively. Six weeks later, the patient developed recurrence of radiculopathy. Radiological imaging demonstrated an intraspinal cyst with a fluid-fluid level causing compression of the left L-4 and L-5 nerve roots. Reexpoloration of the fusion was performed, and a cyst arising from the posterior aspect of the cage was found to compress the axilla of the left L-4 nerve root and the shoulder of the L-5 nerve root. The cyst was decompressed, and the wall was partially excised. A collagen BMP sponge was found within the cyst and was removed. Postoperatively, the patient's radiculopathy resolved and she went on to achieve interbody fusion. Bone morphogenetic protein can be associated with inflammatory cyst formation resulting in neural compression. Spine surgeons should be aware of this complication in addition to the other reported BMP-related complications.
Richard F. Schmidt, Osamah J. Choudhry, Joseph Raviv, Soly Baredes, Roy R. Casiano, Jean Anderson Eloy, and James K. Liu
Lateral sphenoid encephaloceles of the Sternberg canal are rare entities and usually present with spontaneous CSF rhinorrhea. Traditionally, these were treated via transcranial approaches, which can be challenging given the deep location of these lesions. However, with advancements in endoscopic skull base surgery, including improved surgical exposures, angled endoscopes and instruments, and novel repair techniques, these encephaloceles can be resected and successfully repaired with purely endoscopic endonasal approaches. In this report, the authors review the endoscopic endonasal transpterygoid approach to the lateral recess of the sphenoid sinus for repair of temporal lobe encephaloceles, including an overview of the surgical anatomy from an endoscopic perspective, and describe the technical operative nuances and surgical pearls for these cases. The authors also present 4 new cases of lateral sphenoid recess encephaloceles that were successfully treated using this approach.
Richard F. Schmidt, Zain Boghani, Osamah J. Choudhry, Jean Anderson Eloy, Robert W. Jyung, and James K. Liu
With the relatively recent increase in the use of MRI techniques, there has been a concurrent rise in the number of vestibular schwannomas (VSs) detected as incidental findings. These incidental VSs may be prevalent in up to 0.02%–0.07% of individuals undergoing MRI and represent a significant portion of all diagnosed VSs. The management of these lesions poses a significant challenge for practitioners. Most incidental VSs tend to be small and associated with minimal symptoms, permitting them to be managed conservatively at the time of diagnosis. However, relatively few indicators consistently predict tumor growth and patient outcomes. Furthermore, growth rates have been shown to vary significantly over time with a large variety of long-term growth patterns. Thus, early MRI screening for continued tumor growth followed by repeated MRI studies and clinical assessments throughout the patient's life is an essential component in a conservative management strategy. Note that tumor growth is typically associated with a worsening of symptoms in patients who undergo conservative management, and many of these symptoms have been shown to significantly impact the patient's quality of life. Specific indications for the termination of conservative management vary across studies, but secondary intervention has been shown to be a relatively safe option in most patients with progressive disease. Patients with incidental VSs will probably qualify for a course of conservative management at diagnosis, and regular imaging combined with the expectation that the tumor and symptoms may change at any interval is crucial to ensuring positive long-term outcomes in these patients. In this report, the authors discuss the current literature pertaining to the prevalence of incidental VSs and various considerations in the management of these lesions. It is hoped that by incorporating an understanding of tumor growth, patient outcomes, and management strategies, practitioners will be able to effectively address this challenging disease entity.
Richard F. Schmidt, Osamah J. Choudhry, Ramya Takkellapati, Jean Anderson Eloy, William T. Couldwell, and James K. Liu
A little over a century ago, in 1907, at the University of Innsbruck, Hermann Schloffer performed the first transsphenoidal surgery on a living patient harboring a pituitary adenoma. Schloffer used a superior nasal route via a transfacial lateral rhinotomy incision. This was perhaps his greatest academic contribution to neurosurgery. Despite the technological limitations of that time, Schloffer's operation was groundbreaking in that it laid the foundation for future development and refinement of transsphenoidal pituitary surgery, influencing prominent surgeons such as Oskar Hirsch and Harvey Cushing. Even after undergoing multiple modifications and a brief fall into obscurity, the transsphenoidal approach has endured through generations of surgeons and remains the preferred approach for lesions of the sella turcica to this day. Although Schloffer performed primarily abdominal surgery in his practice, his contributions to the transsphenoidal approach have had a lasting impact in the field of pituitary and skull base surgery. The authors review the life and career of Hermann Schloffer, the surgical details of his transsphenoidal operation, and the legacy that it has left on the field of pituitary surgery.
John G. Golfinos, Travis C. Hill, Rae Rokosh, Osamah Choudhry, Matthew Shinseki, Alireza Mansouri, David R. Friedmann, J. Thomas Roland Jr., and Douglas Kondziolka
A randomized trial that compares clinical outcomes following microsurgery (MS) or stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for patients with small- and medium-sized vestibular schwannomas (VSs) is impractical, but would have important implications for clinical decision making. A matched cohort analysis was conducted to evaluate clinical outcomes in patients treated with MS or SRS.
The records of 399 VS patients who were cared for by 2 neurosurgeons and 1 neurotologist between 2001 and 2014 were evaluated. From this data set, 3 retrospective matched cohorts were created to compare hearing preservation (21 matched pairs), facial nerve preservation (83 matched pairs), intervention-free survival, and complication rates (85 matched pairs) between cases managed with SRS and patients managed with MS. Cases were matched for age at surgery (± 10 years) and lesion size (± 0.1 cm). To compare hearing outcomes, cases were additionally matched for preoperative Class A hearing according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery guidelines. To compare facial nerve (i.e., cranial nerve [CN] VII) outcomes, cases were additionally matched for preoperative House-Brackmann (HB) score. Investigators who were not involved with patient care reviewed the clinical and imaging records. The reported outcomes were as assessed at the time of the last follow-up, unless otherwise stated.
The preservation of preoperative Class A hearing status was achieved in 14.3% of MS cases compared with 42.9% of SRS cases (OR 4.5; p < 0.05) after an average follow-up interval of 43.7 months and 30.3 months, respectively. Serviceable hearing was preserved in 42.8% of MS cases compared with 85.7% of SRS cases (OR 8.0; p < 0.01). The rates of postoperative CN VII dysfunction were low for both groups, although significantly higher in the MS group (HB III–IV 11% vs 0% for SRS; OR 21.3; p < 0.01) at a median follow-up interval of 35.7 and 19.0 months for MS and SRS, respectively. There was no difference in the need for subsequent intervention (2 MS patients and 2 SRS patients).
At this high-volume center, VS resection or radiosurgery for tumors ≤ 2.8 cm in diameter was associated with low overall morbidity. The need for subsequent intervention was the same in both groups. SRS was associated with improved hearing and facial preservation rates and reduced morbidity, but with a shorter average follow-up period. Facial function was excellent in both groups. Since patients were not randomly selected for surgery, different clinical outcomes may be of different value to individual patients. Both anticipated medical outcomes and patient goals remain the drivers of treatment decisions.
Radek Kolecki, Vikalpa Dammavalam, Abdullah Bin Zahid, Molly Hubbard, Osamah Choudhry, Marleen Reyes, ByoungJun Han, Tom Wang, Paraskevi Vivian Papas, Aylin Adem, Emily North, David T. Gilbertson, Douglas Kondziolka, Jason H. Huang, Paul P. Huang, and Uzma Samadani
The precise threshold differentiating normal and elevated intracranial pressure (ICP) is variable among individuals. In the context of several pathophysiological conditions, elevated ICP leads to abnormalities in global cerebral functioning and impacts the function of cranial nerves (CNs), either or both of which may contribute to ocular dysmotility. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of elevated ICP on eye-tracking performed while patients were watching a short film clip.
Awake patients requiring placement of an ICP monitor for clinical purposes underwent eye tracking while watching a 220-second continuously playing video moving around the perimeter of a viewing monitor. Pupil position was recorded at 500 Hz and metrics associated with each eye individually and both eyes together were calculated. Linear regression with generalized estimating equations was performed to test the association of eye-tracking metrics with changes in ICP.
Eye tracking was performed at ICP levels ranging from −3 to 30 mm Hg in 23 patients (12 women, 11 men, mean age 46.8 years) on 55 separate occasions. Eye-tracking measures correlating with CN function linearly decreased with increasing ICP (p < 0.001). Measures for CN VI were most prominently affected. The area under the curve (AUC) for eye-tracking metrics to discriminate between ICP < 12 and ≥ 12 mm Hg was 0.798. To discriminate an ICP < 15 from ≥ 15 mm Hg the AUC was 0.833, and to discriminate ICP < 20 from ≥ 20 mm Hg the AUC was 0.889.
Increasingly elevated ICP was associated with increasingly abnormal eye tracking detected while patients were watching a short film clip. These results suggest that eye tracking may be used as a noninvasive, automatable means to quantitate the physiological impact of elevated ICP, which has clinical application for assessment of shunt malfunction, pseudotumor cerebri, concussion, and prevention of second-impact syndrome.