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Paul A. Gardner and A. Leland Albright

✓Anterior sacral meningocele (ASM) is a relatively rare, congenital disorder. Usually it presents sporadically, but there are case reports of hereditary ASMs and evidence of a dominant mode of inheritance. In this article the authors describe a case illustrating the hereditary nature of ASM and present available literature on the disease.

The authors present the case of a 19-month-old boy in whom an ASM was diagnosed during a workup for constipation. The child's 31-year-old mother had been treated for the same condition 20 years earlier, when she had presented with back pain. These cases are discussed in the context of previous reports of similar cases.

There are several case reports in the literature in which an ASM occurred as a familial, isolated disorder (in the absence of other caudal abnormalities or syndromes). The condition is reported more commonly in women, but it is unclear whether this is a true difference in prevalence or a diagnosis or reporting bias. A review of the literature indicates an autosomal-dominant inheritance with variable penetrance and presentation.

Anterior sacral meningoceles can be hereditary. Given the potential complications of the disease if left untreated and the simplicity of screening—obtaining an abdominal radiograph and the patient's clinical history—we recommend screening of immediate family members of affected individuals. Surgical treatment is recommended if an ASM is discovered.

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Paul A. Gardner, Johnathan Engh, Dave Atteberry and John J. Moossy

Object

External ventricular drain (EVD) placement is one of the most common neurosurgical procedures performed. Rates and significance of hemorrhage associated with this procedure have not been well quantified.

Methods

All adults who underwent EVD placement at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center between July 2002 and June 2003 were evaluated for catheter-associated hemorrhage. Patients without postprocedural imaging were excluded.

Results

Seventy-seven (41%) of 188 EVDs were associated with imaging evidence of hemorrhage after either placement or removal. Most of these were insignificant, punctate intraparenchymal, or trace subarachnoid hemorrhages (51.9%). Thirty-seven (19.7%) were associated with larger hemorrhages, which were divided into 3 groups according to volume of hemorrhage: 16 patients (8.5%) had < 15 ml of hemorrhage, 20 (10.6%) had hemorrhages of > 15 ml or associated intraventricular hemorrhage, and in 1 case there was a subdural hematoma that required surgical evacuation. No hemorrhages larger than punctate or trace were seen after EVD removal. Hemorrhage was associated with 44.3% of EVDs placed in an intensive care unit compared with 34.8% in EVDs placed in the operating room (p > 0.10).

Conclusions

External ventricular drain placement has a significant risk of associated hemorrhage. However, the hemorrhages are rarely large and almost never require surgical intervention. There is a favorable trend, but no significant risk reduction when EVDs are placed in the operating room rather than the intensive care unit.

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Paul A. Gardner, Pawel G. Ochalski and John J. Moossy

Palmar hyperhidrosis is a disorder of the autonomic nervous system characterized by excessive perspiration of the palms, but may involve other body parts as well. Traditional posterior approaches have been performed less often in favor of less invasive thoracoscopic sympathectomies, which have a high success rate with low associated morbidity. However, some patients are not candidates for a transthoracic surgery and may need an alternative treatment strategy.

In situations in which a posterior approach may be necessary, the authors have developed a minimal access endoscopic-assisted dorsal sympathectomy procedure, applying minimally invasive spine muscle splitting techniques. The authors believe that the development of this technique may help to minimize surgical morbidity associated with the traditional posterior approach by reducing pain, tissue damage, and length of postoperative recovery. This paper is a report on the successful treatment of palmar hyperhidrosis using a minimally invasive posterior technique and describes the surgical approach and outcomes in 2 patients who have been treated in this manner.

Two patients underwent minimally invasive endoscopic-assisted posterior thoracic sympathectomy for hyperhidrosis. Both patients experienced relief of their symptoms after surgery with follow-up durations of 32 and 9 months and length of stays of 0.9 and 2.8 days, respectively. One patient suffered a unilateral Horner syndrome and underwent an eyelid lift. The other patient was readmitted to the hospital 2 days after discharge with atelectasis. She was obese and suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at baseline, which were reasons she opted for a posterior approach. Neither patient suffered a pneumo- or hemothorax.

Minimally invasive endoscopic-assisted posterior thoracic sympathectomy can be safely performed for relief of hyperhidrosis. The procedure has risks for the usual complications of sympathectomy. This technique may provide an alternative to thoracoscopic approaches, especially in those patients with pulmonary disease or obesity.

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Ricky Madhok, Daniel M. Prevedello, Paul Gardner, Ricardo L. Carrau, Carl H. Snyderman and Amin B. Kassam

Object

Rathke cleft cysts (RCCs) are benign lesions that can be diagnosed as an incidental finding associated with headaches, pituitary dysfunction, or vision deterioration. Typically, they occur in a sellar or suprasellar location. The aim of this study was to review the clinical presentation and outcomes associated with endoscopic endonasal resection of these lesions.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed a series of 35 patients with a diagnosis of RCC after endoscopic endonasal resection at the University of Pittsburgh between January 1998 and July 2008.

Results

All 35 patients underwent a purely endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA). The average patient age was 34 years (range 12–67 years), and the average follow-up was 19 months (range 1–60 months). Clinical follow-up data were available for 32 patients, and radiographic follow-up data were accessible for 33 patients. All of the patients underwent complete removal of the cyst contents, and according to radiography studies 2 patients had a recurrence, neither of which required reoperation. The mean cyst volume was 1052.7 mm3 (range 114–6044 mm3). Headache was a presenting symptom in 26 (81.2%) of 32 patients, with 25 (96.1%) of 26 having postoperative improvement in their headaches. Fifteen (57.7%) of the 26 patients had complete pain resolution, and 10 (38.5%) had a > 50% reduction in their pain scores. Six (18.8%) of 32 patients initially presented with pituitary dysfunction, although 2 (33.3%) had postoperative improvement. Three (9.4%) of 32 patients had temporary pituitary dysfunction postoperatively, although there was no permanent pituitary dysfunction. Neither were there any intraoperative complications, postoperative CSF leaks, or new neurological deficits. The average hospital stay was 1.8 days (range 1–5 days).

Conclusions

The EEA is a safe and effective approach in the treatment of RCCs. None of the patients in this study experienced any worsening of their preoperative symptoms or pituitary function, and 96% of the patients who had presented with headache experienced complete or significant pain relief following treatment.

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Amin B. Kassam, Paul A. Gardner, Arlan Mintz, Carl H. Snyderman, Ricardo L. Carrau and Michael Horowitz

✓Paraclinoidal aneurysms, especially superior hypophyseal artery (SHA) aneurysms (with medial projection), can be challenging to access via a pterional craniotomy and damage to the optic nerve can occur during surgery. The authors have previously reported on endonasal clipping and aneurysmorrhaphy of a vertebral artery aneurysm following proximal and distal protection of the aneurysm using partial coil embolization. To the best of the authors' knowledge no unprotected aneurysm has been clipped using an endonasal approach.

The 56-year-old woman in this report was found to have two unruptured aneurysms: an anterior communicating artery (ACoA) aneurysm and an SHA aneurysm. An endoscopic endonasal, transplanar–transsellar approach was used to successfully clip the SHA aneurysm. Proximal and distal control was obtained endonasally prior to successful clip occlusion of the aneurysm. The ACoA aneurysm was clipped via a pterional craniotomy during the same anesthetic session. This report shows that it is possible to successfully clip a medially projecting, paraclinoidal aneurysm using an endonasal approach. Such cases must be chosen with extreme caution and only performed by surgeons with significant experience with both endoscopic endonasal approaches and neurovascular surgery.

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Paul Gardner, Amin Kassam, Carl Snyderman, Arlan Mintz, Ricardo Carrau and John J. Moossy

✓ Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage following endoscopic endonasal skull base resection can be a significant problem. A method for securing tissue grafts is needed. In this paper the authors used an endonasal suturing device to secure the graft reconstruction following endonasal tumor resection.

The U-Clip anastomotic device (Medtronic), developed for cardiovascular anastomoses, was used to secure the tissue graft to native dura. A specialized needle driver and hemoclip applier were used for the application and deployment of this device. No suture tying was necessary, facilitating its endonasal application.

The graft was successfully secured in its desired position to native dura by using the U-Clip anastomotic device. The patient did not suffer a postoperative CSF leak, and postoperative imaging and endoscopy revealed that the graft was in a good position. There was no complication from the use of the device.

The U-Clip anastomotic device can be used as a suture device during endonasal surgery. It may prevent tissue graft migration and help prevent CSF leakage.

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Chirag R. Patel, Eric W. Wang, Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Paul A. Gardner and Carl H. Snyderman

OBJECTIVE

The endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) has been shown to be an effective means of accessing lesions of the petrous apex. Lesions that are lateral to the paraclival segment of the internal carotid artery (ICA) require lateralization of the paraclival segment of the ICA or a transpterygoid infrapetrous approach. In this study the authors studied the feasibility of adding a contralateral transmaxillary (CTM) corridor to provide greater access to the petrous apex with decreased need for manipulation of the ICA.

METHODS

Using image guidance, EEA and CTM extension were performed bilaterally on 5 cadavers. The anterior wall of the sphenoid sinus and rostrum were removed. The angle of the surgical approach from the axis of the petrous segment of the ICA was measured. Five illustrative clinical cases are presented.

RESULTS

The CTM corridor required a partial medial maxillectomy. When measured from the axis of the petrous ICA, the CTM corridor decreased the angle from 44.8° ± 2.78° to 20.1° ± 4.31°, a decrease of 24.7° ± 2.58°. Drilling through the CTM corridor allowed the drill to reach lateral aspects of the petrous apex that would have required lateralization of the ICA or would not have been accessible via EEA. The CTM corridor allowed us to achieve gross-total resection of the petrous apex region in 5 clinical cases with significant paraclival extension.

CONCLUSIONS

The CTM corridor is a feasible extension to the standard EEA to the petrous apex that offers a more lateral trajectory with improved access. This approach may reduce the risk and morbidity associated with manipulation of the paraclival ICA.

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Richard H. Singleton, Brian T. Jankowitz, Daniel A. Wecht and Paul A. Gardner

Object

The use of commercially available topical hemostatic adjuncts has increased the safety profile of surgery as a whole. Cranial surgery has also benefited from the development of numerous agents designed to permit more rapid achievement of hemostasis. Flowable topical hemostatic agents applied via syringe injection are now commonly employed in many neurosurgical procedures, including cranial surgery. Intravascular use of these strongly thrombogenic agents is contraindicated, but in certain settings, inadvertent intravascular administration can occur, resulting in vascular occlusion, thrombosis, and potential dissemination. To date, there have no reports detailing the presence and incidence of this complication.

Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective review of all cranial surgeries performed at Presbyterian University Hospital by members of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Department of Neurological Surgery between 2007 and 2009. Cases complicated by vascular occlusion due to inadvertent intravascular administration of flowable topical hemostatic matrix (FTHM) were identified and analyzed.

Results

Iatrogenic vascular occlusion induced by FTHM was identified in 5 (0.1%) of 3969 cranial surgery cases. None of these events occurred in 3318 supratentorial cases, whereas 5 cases of cerebral venous sinus occlusion occurred in 651 infratentorial cases (0.8%). The risk of accidental vessel occlusion was significantly associated with infratentorial surgery, and all events occurred in the transverse and/or sigmoid sinus. No episodes of inadvertent vascular occlusion occurred during endoscopic surgery. No cases of arterial occlusion were identified. Of the 5 patients with FTHM-related cerebral venous sinus occlusion, none developed long-term neurological sequelae referable to the event.

Conclusions

Inadvertent intravascular administration of FTHM is a rare complication associated with cranial surgery that occurs most commonly during infratentorial procedures around the transverse and/or sigmoid sinuses. Modifications in the choice of when to use an FTHM and the method of application may help prevent accidental venous sinus administration.

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Georgios Zenonos, Douglas Kondziolka, John C. Flickinger, Paul Gardner and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

Microsurgical management of foramen magnum meningiomas (FMMs) can be associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Stereotactic radiosurgery may be an efficient and safe alternative treatment modality for such tumors. The object of this study was to increase the documented experience with Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) for FMMs and to delineate its role in an overall management paradigm.

Methods

The authors report on their experience with 24 patients harboring FMMs managed with GKS. Twelve patients had primary symptomatic tumors, 5 had asymptomatic but enlarging primary tumors, and 7 had recurrent or residual tumors after a prior surgery.

Results

Follow-up clinical and imaging data were available in 21 patients at a median follow-up of 47 months (range 3–128 months). Ten patients had measurable tumor regression, which was defined as an overall volume reduction > 25%. Eleven patients had no further tumor growth. Two patients died as a result of advanced comorbidities before follow-up imaging. One patient was living 8 years after GKS but had no clinical evaluation. Ten of 17 symptomatic patients with at least 6 months of follow-up had symptom improvement, and 7 remained clinically stable. Smaller tumors were more likely to regress. No patient suffered an adverse radiation effect after radiosurgery.

Conclusions

Gamma Knife surgery was a safe management strategy for small, minimally symptomatic, or growing FMMs as well as for residual tumors following conservative microsurgical removal.

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Luigi M. Cavallo, Andrea Messina, Paolo Cappabianca, Felice Esposito, Enrico de Divitiis, Paul Gardner and Manfred Tschabitscher

Object

The midline skull base is an anatomical area that extends from the anterior limit of the cranial fossa down to the anterior border of the foramen magnum. Resection of lesions involving this area requires a variety of innovative skull base approaches. These include anterior, anterolateral, and posterolateral routes, performed either alone or in combination, and resection via these routes often requires extensive neurovascular manipulation. The goals in this study were to define the application of the endoscopic endonasal approach and to become more familiar with the views and skills associated with the technique by using cadaveric specimens.

Methods

To assess the feasibility of the endonasal route for the surgical management of lesions in the midline skull base, five fresh cadaver heads injected with colored latex were dissected using a modified endoscopic endonasal approach.

Full access to the skull base and the cisternal space around it is possible with this route. From the crista galli to the spinomedullary junction, with incision of the dura mater, a complete visualization of the carotid and vertebrobasilar arterial systems and of all 12 of the cranial nerves is obtainable.

Conclusions

The major potential advantage of the endoscopic endonasal approach to the skull base is that it provides a direct anatomical route to the lesion without traversing any major neurovascular structures, obviating brain retraction. Many tumors grow in a medial-to-lateral direction, displacing structures laterally as they expand, creating natural corridors for their resection via an anteromedial approach.

Potential disadvantages of this procedure include the relatively restricted working space and the danger of an inadequate dural repair with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage and potential for meningitis resulting. These approaches often require a large opening of the dura mater over the tuberculum sellae and posterior planum sphenoidale, or retroclival space. In addition, they typically involve large intraoperative CSF leaks, which necessitate precise and effective dural closure.