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Angelo Franzini, Paolo Ferroli, Domenico Servello, and Giovanni Broggi

✓ The authors describe a case of complete recovery from the so-called “thalamic hand” syndrome following chronic motor cortex stimulation in a 64-year-old man suffering from poststroke thalamic central pain. As of the 2-year follow-up examination, the patient's dystonia and pain are still controlled by electrical stimulation.

It is speculated that a common mechanism in which the thalamocortical circuit loops are rendered out of balance may sustain hand dystonia and central pain in this case of thalamic syndrome. To the authors' knowledge this is the first reported case of its kind.

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Paolo Ferroli, Dario Caldiroli, Matilde Leonardi, and Morgan Broggi

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Vittoria Nazzi, Giuseppe Messina, Ivano Dones, Paolo Ferroli, and Giovanni Broggi

✓The authors report on the case of a 32-year-old woman with an intramuscular arteriovenous hemangioma (AVH) of the left forearm with burning pain and paresthesias diffused to the radial nerve–related territories. The patient underwent coil embolization of the AVH and surgical removal of the remnant and regrown AVH. This case demonstrates the safety and efficacy of surgery when interventional radiology fails to achieve complete occlusion. En bloc removal of the lesion was performed through a left elbow cleft incision, and intraoperative electrophysiological monitoring and angiography with indocyanine green (ICG) were performed. The pathological diagnosis was intramuscular AVH. Postoperative follow-up examinations demonstrated the permanent disappearance of the subcutaneous mass and of the patient's sensory disturbances. Complete excision of the AVH was confirmed on postoperative magnetic resonance angiography, and no surgery-related complications or new neurological symptoms were detected.

Intramuscular AVHs are rare lesions that can be successfully treated with both coil endovascular embolization and surgery; the latter is indicated when endovascular procedures fail to occlude the AVH completely. Intraoperative angiography with ICG can be helpful in confirming the success of the procedure.

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Paolo Ferroli, Elisa Ciceri, Alessandro Addis, and Giovanni Broggi

The authors demonstrate the feasibility of a new procedure to create intracranial interrupted microvascular anastomosis. Self-closing nitinol surgical clips were used for a pericallosal artery–pericallosal artery side-to-side bypass in a 52-year-old man harboring an unruptured large aneurysm located on the right A2 segment. The outflow artery was found to arise from the dome of the aneurysm, which was considered unsuitable for stand-alone clip ligation or coil occlusion. After bypass patency was intraoperatively confirmed using near-infrared indocyanine green videoangiography, the aneurysm and feeding artery were embolized with coils and safely occluded. Both postoperative courses were uneventful. The patient was discharged neurologically intact on the 5th postembolization day. Postprocedure angiography demonstrated no ipsilateral aneurysm filling and excellent bilateral distal outflow from the left anterior cerebral artery.

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Angelo Franzini, Carlo Marras, Paolo Ferroli, Giovanna Zorzi, Orso Bugiani, Luigi Romito, and Giovanni Broggi

✓ The authors report the results of long-term bilateral high-frequency pallidal stimulation in two patients affected by neuroleptic-induced dystonia.

The first patient, a 33-year-old man, experienced a dystonic posture of the trunk, with involvement of the neck and upper and lower limbs after 11 years of treatment with neuroleptic drugs. The second patient, a 30-year-old man, presented with a torsion dystonia, spasmodic torticollis, and involuntary movements of the upper limbs, which appeared after 4 years of neuroleptic treatment. Both of these dystonias worsened even after the neuroleptic treatment had been discontinued, and neither patient responded to clozapine or benzodiazepine therapy. The time lapse between the first appearance of dystonia and surgery was, respectively, 5 and 3 years. In each case bilateral stereotactic implantation of electrodes within the globus pallidus internus (GPI) was performed while the patient was in a state of general anesthesia. The electrodes were placed at the following anterior commissure—posterior commissure line—related coordinates: 20 mm lateral to the midline, 6 mm below the intercommissural plane, and 3 mm anterior to the midcommissural point. Electrical stimulation (130 Hz, 1 V, 90 µsec) was begun on the 1st postoperative day. In both patients, a genetic analysis positively ruled out a mutation in the DYT1 gene, and magnetic resonance imaging yielded normal findings in both cases.

Extrapyramidal symptoms and dystonia disappeared almost completely and dramatically in both patients just a few days after high-frequency bilateral pallidal stimulation commenced. Both patients regained autonomy and neuroleptic treatment was reinitiated. The follow-up period for both cases was 1 year. Long-term bilateral high-frequency stimulation of GPI resulted in a dramatic and long-lasting improvement of neuroleptic-induced tardive dystonia.

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Paolo Ferroli, Ignazio G. Vetrano, Francesco Acerbi, Gabriella Raccuia, Marco Schiariti, Paolo Confalonieri, Luisa Chiapparini, and Morgan Broggi

In multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, trigeminal neuralgia (TN) represents a challenging syndrome to treat, often refractory to medical therapy and percutaneous techniques. Despite the frequent lack of a neurovascular conflict, the trigeminal nerve’s axons are often damaged, with the myelin sheath permanently degenerated, thus explaining the difficulty in treating TN in MS.

The authors illustrate trigeminal interfascicular neurolysis (the combing technique) to control refractory recurrent TN in MS: the nerve is longitudinally divided along its fibers from the root entry zone, determining good pain relief.

The video can be found here:

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Emanuele La Corte, Philipp R. Aldana, Paolo Ferroli, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Roger Härtl, Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz


The endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) provides a minimally invasive corridor through which the cervicomedullary junction can be decompressed with reduced morbidity rates compared to those with the classic transoral approaches. The limit of the EEA is its inferior extent, and preoperative estimation of its reach is vital for determining its suitability. The aim of this study was to evaluate the actual inferior limit of the EEA in a surgical series of patients and develop an accurate and reliable predictor that can be used in planning endonasal odontoidectomies.


The actual inferior extent of surgery was determined in a series of 6 patients with adequate preoperative and postoperative imaging who underwent endoscopie endonasal odontoidectomy. The medians of the differences between several previously described predictive lines, namely the nasopalatine line (NPL) and nasoaxial line (NAxL), were compared with the actual surgical limit and the hard-palate line by using nonparametric statistics. A novel line, called the rhinopalatine line (RPL), was established and corresponded best with the actual limit of the surgery.


There were 4 adult and 2 pediatric patients included in this study. The NPL overestimated the inferior extent of the surgery by an average (± SD) of 21.9 ± 8.1 mm (range 14.7-32.5 mm). The NAxL and RPL overestimated the inferior limit of surgery by averages of 6.9 ± 3.8 mm (range 3.7-13.3 mm) and 1.7 ± 3.7 mm (range −2.8 to 8.3 mm), respectively. The medians of the differences between the NPL and NAxL and the actual surgery were statistically different (both p = 0.0313). In contrast, there was no statistically significant difference between the RPL and the inferior limit of surgery (p = 0.4375).


The RPL predicted the inferior limit of the EEA to the craniovertebral junction more accurately than previously described lines. The use of the RPL may help surgeons in choosing suitable candidates for the EEA and in selecting those for whom surgery through the oropharynx or the facial bones is the better approach.

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Francesco Acerbi, Ignazio G. Vetrano, Tommaso Sattin, Camilla de Laurentis, Lorenzo Bosio, Zefferino Rossini, Morgan Broggi, Marco Schiariti, and Paolo Ferroli


Indocyanine green videoangiography (ICG-VA) is an intraoperative technique used to highlight vessels in neurovascular surgery. Its application in the study of the vascular pathophysiology in CNS tumors and its role in their surgical management are still rather limited. A recent innovation of ICG-VA (i.e., the FLOW 800 algorithm integrated in the surgical microscope) allows a semiquantitative evaluation of cerebral blood flow. The aim of this study was to evaluate for the first time the systematic application of ICG-VA and FLOW 800 analysis during surgical removal of CNS tumors.


Between May 2011 and December 2017, all cases in which ICG-VA and FLOW 800 analysis were used at least one time before, during, or after the tumor resection, and in which surgical videos were available, were retrospectively reviewed. Results of the histological analysis were analyzed together with the intraoperative ICG-VA with FLOW 800 in order to investigate the tumor-related videoangiographic features.


Seventy-one patients who underwent surgery for cerebral and spinal tumors were intraoperatively analyzed using ICG-VA with FLOW 800, either before or after tumor resection, for a total of 93 videoangiographic studies. The histological diagnosis was meningioma in 25 cases, glioma in 14, metastasis in 7, pineal region tumor in 5, hemangioblastoma in 4, chordoma in 3, and other histological types in 13 cases. The authors identified 4 possible applications of ICG-VA and FLOW 800 in CNS tumor surgery: extradural surveys allowed exploration of sinus patency and the course of veins before dural opening; preresection surveys helped in identifying pathological vascularization (arteriovenous fistulas and neo-angiogenesis) and regional venous outflow, and in performing temporary venous clipping tests, when necessary; postresection surveys were conducted to evaluate arterial and venous patency and parenchymal perfusion after tumor removal; and a premyelotomy survey was conducted in intramedullary tumors to highlight the posterior median sulcus.


The authors found ICG-VA with FLOW 800 to be a useful method to monitor blood flow in the exposed vessels and parenchyma during microsurgical removal of CNS tumors in selected cases. In particular, a preresection survey provides useful information about pathophysiological changes of brain vasculature related to the tumor and aids in the individuation of helpful landmarks for the surgical approach, and the postresection survey helps to prevent potential complications associated with the resection (such as local hypoperfusion or venous infarction).