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Davis G. Taylor, Panagiotis Mastorakos, John A. Jane Jr., and Edward H. Oldfield

OBJECTIVE

A subset of patients with Chiari I malformation demonstrate patent subarachnoid spaces around the cerebellum, indicating that reduced posterior fossa volume alone does not account for tonsillar descent. The authors distinguish two subsets of Chiari I malformation patients based on the degree of “posterior fossa crowdedness” on MRI.

METHODS

Two of the coauthors independently reviewed the preoperative MR images of 49 patients with Chiari I malformation and categorized the posterior fossa as “spacious” or “crowded.” Volumetric analysis of posterior fossa structures was then performed using open-source DICOM software. The preoperative clinical and imaging features of the two groups were compared.

RESULTS

The posterior fossae of 25 patients were classified as spacious and 20 as crowded by both readers; 4 were incongruent. The volumes of the posterior fossa compartment, posterior fossa tissue, and hindbrain (posterior fossa tissue including herniated tonsils) were statistically similar between the patients with spacious and crowed subtypes (p = 0.33, p = 0.17, p = 0.20, respectively). However, patients in the spacious and crowded subtypes demonstrated significant differences in the ratios of posterior fossa tissue to compartment volumes as well as hindbrain to compartment volumes (p = 0.001 and p = 0.0004, respectively). The average age at surgery was 29.2 ± 19.3 years (mean ± SD) and 21.9 ± 14.9 years for spacious and crowded subtypes, respectively (p = 0.08). Syringomyelia was more prevalent in the crowded subtype (50% vs 28%, p = 0.11).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors' study identifies two subtypes of Chiari I malformation, crowded and spacious, that can be distinguished by MRI appearance without volumetric analysis. Earlier age at surgery and presence of syringomyelia are more common in the crowded subtype. The presence of the spacious subtype suggests that crowdedness alone cannot explain the pathogenesis of Chiari I malformation in many patients, supporting the need for further investigation.

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Panagiotis Mastorakos, I. Jonathan Pomeraniec, Jean-Paul Bryant, Prashant Chittiboina, and John D. Heiss

OBJECTIVE

Chronic adhesive spinal arachnoiditis (SA) is a complex disease process that results in spinal cord tethering, CSF flow blockage, intradural adhesions, spinal cord edema, and sometimes syringomyelia. When it is focal or restricted to fewer than 3 spinal segments, the disease responds well to open surgical approaches. More extensive arachnoiditis extending beyond 4 spinal segments has a much worse prognosis because of less adequate removal of adhesions and a higher propensity for postoperative scarring and retethering. Flexible neuroendoscopy can extend the longitudinal range of the surgical field with a minimalist approach. The authors present a cohort of patients with severe cervical and thoracic arachnoiditis and myelopathy who underwent flexible endoscopy to address arachnoiditis at spinal segments not exposed by open surgical intervention. These observations will inform subsequent efforts to improve the treatment of extensive arachnoiditis.

METHODS

Over a period of 3 years (2017–2020), 10 patients with progressive myelopathy were evaluated and treated for extensive SA. Seven patients had syringomyelia, 1 had spinal cord edema, and 2 had spinal cord distortion. Surgical intervention included 2- to 5-level thoracic laminectomy, microscopic lysis of adhesions, and then lysis of adhesions at adjacent spinal levels performed using a rigid or flexible endoscope. The mean follow-up was 5 months (range 2–15 months). Neurological function was examined using standard measures. MRI was used to assess syrinx resolution.

RESULTS

The mean length of syringes was 19.2 ± 10 cm, with a mean maximum diameter of 7.0 ± 2.9 mm. Patients underwent laminectomies averaging 3.7 ± 0.9 (range 2–5) levels in length followed by endoscopy, which expanded exposure by an average of another 2.4 extra segments (6.1 ± 4.0 levels total). Endoscopic dissection of extensive arachnoiditis in the dorsal subarachnoid space proceeded through a complex network of opaque arachnoidal bands and membranes bridging from the dorsal dura mater to the spinal cord. In less severely problematic areas, the arachnoid membrane was transparent and attached to the spinal cord through multifocal arachnoid adhesions bridging the subarachnoid space. The endoscope did not compress or injure the spinal cord.

CONCLUSIONS

Intrathecal endoscopy allowed visual assessment and safe removal of intradural adhesions beyond the laminectomy margins. Further development of this technique should improve its effectiveness in opening the subarachnoid space and untethering the spinal cord in cases of extensive chronic adhesive SA.

Free access

Vijay Letchuman, Leonel Ampie, Panagiotis Mastorakos, Daniel M. S. Raper, Ryan T. Kellogg, and Min S. Park

Moyamoya disease is a rare disorder of the cerebrovascular system affecting individuals in a bimodal age distribution and is characterized by progressive vascular stenosis of the bilateral supraclinoid internal carotid arteries with compensatory formation of collateral vessels at the base of the brain. Despite the disease’s initial description in the literature in 1957, little progress has been made in the development of medical and surgical therapeutics due to, in no small part, the lack of effective experimental animal models. Currently, there is a poor understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms behind the development of the moyamoya vasculopathies. Since the description of a genetic association between moyamoya disease, few studies have investigated the impact of genetic manipulation on the development of an animal model for experimentation. To date, no one model recapitulates the precise phenotype of the moyamoya vasculopathies, although development of an appropriate model would allow for an in-depth investigation into the pathological mechanisms underlying the disease. In this review, the authors discuss the immunological, mechanical, and genetic methods used to develop moyamoya experimental models, as well as future perspectives.

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Davis G. Taylor, Ajay Chatrath, Panagiotis Mastorakos, Gabriella Paisan, Ching-Jen Chen, Thomas J. Buell, and John A. Jane Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Syringogenesis in Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) is thought to occur secondary to impaction of the cerebellar tonsils within the foramen magnum (FM). However, the correlation between the CSF area and syringogenesis has yet to be elucidated. The authors sought to determine whether the diminution in subarachnoid space is associated with syringogenesis. Further, the authors sought to determine if syrinx resolution was associated with the degree of expansion of subarachnoid spaces after surgery.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of all patients undergoing posterior fossa decompression for CM-I from 2004 to 2016 at the University of Virginia Health System. The subarachnoid spaces at the FM and at the level of the most severe stenosis were measured before and after surgery by manual delineation of the canal and neural tissue area on MRI and verified through automated CSF intensity measurements. Imaging and clinical outcomes were then compared.

RESULTS

Of 68 patients, 26 had a syrinx at presentation. Syrinx patients had significantly less subarachnoid space at the FM (13% vs 19%, p = 0.0070) compared to those without syrinx. Following matching based on degree of tonsillar herniation and age, the subarachnoid space was significantly smaller in patients with a syrinx (12% vs 19%, p = 0.0015). Syrinx resolution was associated with an increase in patients’ subarachnoid space after surgery compared with those patients without resolution (23% vs 10%, p = 0.0323).

CONCLUSIONS

Syrinx development in CM-I patients is correlated with the degree to which the subarachnoid CSF spaces are diminished at the cranial outlet. Successful syrinx reduction is associated with the degree to which the subarachnoid spaces are increased following surgery.

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Adeel Ilyas, Ching-Jen Chen, Dale Ding, Panagiotis Mastorakos, Davis G. Taylor, I. Jonathan Pomeraniec, Cheng-Chia Lee, and Jason Sheehan

OBJECTIVE

Cyst formation can occasionally occur after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). Given the limited data regarding post-SRS cyst formation in patients with AVM, the time course, natural history, and management of this delayed complication are poorly defined. The aim of this systematic review was to determine the incidence, time course, and optimal management of cyst formation after SRS for AVMs.

METHODS

A literature review was performed using PubMed to identify studies reporting cyst formation in AVM patients treated with SRS. Baseline and outcomes data, including the incidence and management of post-SRS cysts, were extracted from each study that reported follow-up duration. The mean time to cyst formation was calculated from the subset of studies that reported individual patient data.

RESULTS

Based on pooled data from 22 studies comprising the incidence analysis, the overall rate of post-SRS cyst formation was 3.0% (78/2619 patients). Among the 26 post-SRS cyst patients with available AVM obliteration data, nidal obliteration was achieved in 20 (76.9%). Of the 64 cyst patients with available symptomatology and management data, 21 (32.8%) were symptomatic; 21 cysts (32.8%) were treated with surgical intervention, whereas the remaining 43 (67.2%) were managed conservatively. Based on a subset of 19 studies reporting individual time-to-cyst-formation data from 63 patients, the mean latency period to post-SRS cyst formation was 78 months (6.5 years).

CONCLUSIONS

Cyst formation is an uncommon complication after SRS for AVMs, with a relatively long latency period. The majority of post-SRS cysts are asymptomatic and can be managed conservatively, although enlarging or symptomatic cysts may require surgical intervention. Long-term follow-up of AVM patients is crucial to the appropriate diagnosis and management of post-SRS cysts.

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Panagiotis Mastorakos, Michael A. Hays, James P. Caruso, Ching-Jen Chen, Dale Ding, Davis G. Taylor, M. Beatriz Lopes, and Mark E. Shaffrey

Optic nerve glioblastoma is a rare entity that usually presents with rapidly progressive vision loss, which eventually results in blindness and, ultimately, death. As with malignant gliomas in other anatomical locations, local recurrence is common. Isolated rapid changes in vision, atypical neuroimaging findings, and the rarity of optic nerve glioblastoma may render diagnosis challenging and, thus, delay treatment. The authors present a case of optic nerve glioblastoma that was treated with subtotal resection followed by adjuvant radiation therapy and temozolomide. One year following the initial diagnosis, the patient developed a right cerebellar lesion, which was histopathologically consistent with glioblastoma. This case represents the first report of transtentorial dissemination of an optic nerve glioblastoma. In addition, the authors reviewed the literature regarding optic nerve glioblastomas. Of the 73 previously reported cases of malignant optic nerve gliomas, 32 were histologically confirmed glioblastomas. The mean age at diagnosis was 62 years, and 56% were male; the median survival was 7 months. A malignant glioma of the optic nerve should be considered in the differential diagnosis of a patient with rapidly progressive visual loss. However, the incidence of optic nerve glioblastoma is exceedingly low.

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Panagiotis Mastorakos, Davis G. Taylor, Ching-Jen Chen, Thomas Buell, Joseph H. Donahue, and John A. Jane Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Cavernous sinus invasion (CSI) in Cushing’s disease (CD) negatively affects the probability of complete resection, biochemical cure, and need for adjuvant therapy. However, the prediction of CSI based on MRI findings has been inconsistent and variable. Among macroadenomas, the Knosp classification is the most widely utilized radiographic predictor of CSI, but its accuracy in predicting CSI and the probability of gross-total resection is limited in the setting of microadenomas or Knosp grade 0–2 macroadenomas. The authors noticed that the presence of a triangular shape of adenomas adjacent to the cavernous sinus on coronal MR images is frequently associated with CSI. The authors aimed to determine the correlation of this radiographic finding (“sail sign” [SS]) with CSI.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of all patients with a pituitary lesion < 20 mm and a biochemical diagnosis of CD treated with endoscopic or microscopic transsphenoidal resection from November 2007 to May 2017. Overall 185 patients with CD were identified: 27 were excluded for negative preoperative imaging, 32 for lacking tumors adjacent to the sinus, 7 for Knosp grade 3 or higher, and 4 for inadequate intraoperative assessment of the CSI. Following application of inclusion and exclusion criteria, 115 cases were available for statistical analysis. Intraoperative CSI was prospectively evaluated at the time of surgery by one of two neurosurgical attending surgeons, and MRI data were evaluated retrospectively by a neurosurgical resident and attending neuroradiologist blinded to the intraoperative results.

RESULTS

A positive SS was identified in 23 patients (20%). Among patients with positive SS, 91% demonstrated CSI compared to 10% without an SS (p < 0.001). Using the SS as a predictor of CSI provided a sensitivity of 0.7 and a specificity of 0.98, with a positive predictive value (PPV) of 0.91 and a negative predictive value of 0.9. Among patients with positive SS, 30% did not achieve immediate postoperative remission, compared to 3.3% of patients without an SS (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

The presence of a positive SS among Cushing’s adenomas adjacent to the CS provides strong PPV, specificity, and positive likelihood ratio for the prediction of CSI. This can be a useful tool for preoperative planning and for predicting the likelihood of long-term biochemical remission and the need for adjuvant radiosurgery.

Open access

Armin Mortazavi, Diana Nwokoye, David T. Asuzu, Gretchen Scott, Panagiotis Mastorakos, and Prashant Chittiboina

BACKGROUND

Brainstem and spinal cord hemangioblastomas are a common manifestation of von Hippel–Lindau (VHL) disease. Cysts and associated syringes are the most common cause of significant morbidity in these patients. Surgical treatment of symptomatic hemangioblastomas are often complicated by the presence of multiple potential lesions, leading to cyst and syrinx formation.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present a case of a patient with multiple VHL-related hemangioblastomas who presented with syringobulbia and holocord syrinx. Resection of two cyst wall hemangioblastomas and one cervical hemangioblastoma only transiently improved syringobulbia. Eventual resolution of syringobulbia and collapse of the holocord syrinx only occurred following removal of a large lower thoracic hemangioblastoma.

LESSONS

Surgical management of hemangioblastomas and associated cysts in patients with VHL should only target lesions most likely contributing to neurological deficits as excess surgical intervention risks treatment-related morbidity. The authors illustrate how anatomical and pathophysiological considerations as well as patient symptoms are key to identifying target lesions for resection and developing deliberate treatment plans.