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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, 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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Daniel A. Tonetti, William J. Ares, David O. Okonkwo, and Paul A. Gardner

OBJECTIVE

Large interhemispheric subdural hematomas (iSDHs) causing falx syndrome are rare; therefore, a paucity of data exists regarding the outcomes of contemporary management of iSDH. There is a general consensus among neurosurgeons that large iSDHs with neurological deficits represent a particular treatment challenge with generally poor outcomes. Thus, radiological and clinical outcomes of surgical and nonsurgical management for iSDH bear further study, which is the aim of this report.

METHODS

A prospectively collected, single-institution trauma database was searched for patients with isolated traumatic iSDH causing falx syndrome in the period from January 2008 to January 2018. Information on demographic and radiological characteristics, serial neurological examinations, clinical and radiological outcomes, and posttreatment complications was collected and tallied. The authors subsequently dichotomized patients by management strategy to evaluate clinical outcome and 30-day survival.

RESULTS

Twenty-five patients (0.4% of those with intracranial injuries, 0.05% of those with trauma) with iSDH and falx syndrome represented the study cohort. The average age was 73.4 years, and most patients (23 [92%] of 25) were taking anticoagulants or antiplatelet medications. Six patients were managed nonoperatively, and 19 patients underwent craniotomy for iSDH evacuation; of the latter patients, 17 (89.5%) had improvement in or resolution of motor deficits postoperatively. There were no instances of venous infarction, reaccumulation, or infection after evacuation. In total, 9 (36%) of the 25 patients died within 30 days, including 6 (32%) of the 19 who had undergone craniotomy and 3 (50%) of the 6 who had been managed nonoperatively. Patients who died within 30 days were significantly more likely to experience in-hospital neurological deterioration prior to surgery (83% vs 15%, p = 0.0095) and to be comatose prior to surgery (100% vs 23%, p = 0.0031). The median modified Rankin Scale score of surgical patients who survived hospitalization (13 patients) was 1 at a mean follow-up of 22.1 months.

CONCLUSIONS

iSDHs associated with falx syndrome can be evacuated safely and effectively, and prompt surgical evacuation prior to neurological deterioration can improve outcomes. In this study, craniotomy for iSDH evacuation proved to be a low-risk strategy that was associated with generally good outcomes, though appropriately selected patients may fare well without evacuation.

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Ezequiel Goldschmidt, Amir H. Faraji, Brian T. Jankowitz, Paul Gardner, and Robert M. Friedlander

Near-infrared (NIR) light is commonly used to map venous anatomy in the upper extremities to gain intravenous access for line placement. In this report, the authors describe the use of a common and commercially available NIR vein finder to delineate the cortical venous anatomy prior to dural opening.

During a variety of cranial approaches, the dura was directly visualized using an NIR vein finder. The NIR light source allowed for recognition of the underlying cortical venous anatomy, dural sinuses, and underlying pathology before the dura was opened. This information was considered when tailoring the dural opening. When the dura was illuminated with the NIR vein finder, the underlying cortical and sinus venous anatomy was evident and correlated with the observed cortical anatomy. The vein finder was also accurate in locating superficial lesions and pathological dural veins. A complete accordance in the findings on the pre– and post–dural opening images was observed in all cases.

This simple, inexpensive procedure is readily compatible with operative room workflow, necessitates no head fixation, and offers a real-time image independent of brain shift.

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Ezequiel Goldschmidt, Philippe Lavigne, Carl Snyderman, and Paul A. Gardner

This video depicts the case of a 59-year-old woman that presented to the emergency department with the worst headache of her life. CT showed subarachnoid hemorrhage and digital subtraction angiogram demonstrated a right-side posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) aneurysm. Given the medial and ventral position of the aneurysm, deep to the lower cranial nerves, which obviated distal control from an open approach, and the absence of an endovascular option able to reliably preserve the PICA, an endonasal approach was offered. A far medial approach was performed, and the aneurysm was successfully clipped. The patient developed a postoperative CSF leak with persistent posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus treated with reexploration and an eventual ventriculoperitoneal shunt. The patient was discharged without neurological deficits.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/_9hsM2CaMow.

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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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Huy Q. Truong, Stefan Lieber, Edinson Najera, Joao T. Alves-Belo, Paul A. Gardner, and Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda

OBJECTIVE

The medial wall of the cavernous sinus (CS) is often invaded by pituitary adenomas. Surgical mobilization and/or removal of the medial wall remains a challenge.

METHODS

Endoscopic endonasal dissection was performed in 20 human cadaver heads. The configuration of the medial wall, its relationship to the internal carotid artery (ICA), and the ligamentous connections in between them were investigated in 40 CSs.

RESULTS

The medial wall of the CS was confirmed to be an intact single layer of dura that is distinct from the capsule of the pituitary gland and the periosteal layer that forms the anterior wall of the CS. In 32.5% of hemispheres, the medial wall was indented by and/or well adhered to the cavernous ICA. The authors identified multiple ligamentous fibers that anchored the medial wall to other walls of the CS and/or to specific ICA segments. These parasellar ligaments were classified into 4 groups: 1) caroticoclinoid ligament, spanning from the medial wall and the middle clinoid toward the clinoid ICA segment and anterior clinoid process; 2) superior parasellar ligament, connecting the medial wall to the horizontal cavernous ICA and/or lateral wall of the CS; 3) inferior parasellar ligament, bridging the medial wall to the anterior wall of the CS or anterior surface of the short vertical segment of the cavernous ICA; and 4) posterior parasellar ligament, which anchors the medial wall to the short vertical segment of the cavernous ICA and/or the posterior carotid sulcus. The caroticoclinoid ligament and inferior parasellar ligament were present in most CSs (97.7% and 95%, respectively), while the superior and posterior parasellar ligaments were identified in approximately half of the CSs (57.5% and 45%, respectively). The caroticoclinoid ligament was the strongest and largest ligament, and it was typically assembled as a group of ligaments with a fan-like arrangement. The inferior parasellar ligament was the first to be encountered after opening the anterior wall of the CS during an interdural transcavernous approach.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors introduce a classification of the parasellar ligaments and their role in anchoring the medial wall of the CS. These ligaments should be identified and transected to safely mobilize the medial wall away from the cavernous ICA during a transcavernous approach and for safe and complete resection of adenomas that selectively invade the medial wall.

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Amin Kassam, Carl H. Snyderman, Arlan Mintz, Paul Gardner, and Ricardo L. Carrau

Object

Transsphenoidal approaches have been used for a century for the resection of pituitary and other sellar tumors. More recently, the standard endonasal approach has been expanded to provide access to other, parasellar lesions. With the addition of the endoscope, this expansion carries significant potential for the resection of skull base lesions.

Methods

The anatomical landmarks and surgical techniques used in expanded (extended) endoscopic approaches to the rostral, anterior skull base are reviewed and presented, accompanied by case illustrations of each segment (or module) of approach. The rostral half of the anterior skull base is divided into modules of approach: sellar/parasellar, transplanum/transtuberculum, and transcribriform. Case illustrations of successful resections of lesions with each module are presented and discussed.

Conclusions

Endoscopic, expanded endonasal approaches to rostral anterior skull base lesions are feasible and hold great potential for decreased morbidity. The effectiveness and appropriate use of these techniques must be evaluated by close examination of outcomes as case series expand.

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Amin Kassam, Carl H. Snyderman, Arlan Mintz, Paul Gardner, and Ricardo L. Carrau

Object

Transsphenoidal approaches have been used for a century for the resection of pituitary and other sellar tumors. Recently, however, the standard endonasal approach has been expanded to provide access to other parasellar lesions. With the addition of the endoscope, this expansion has significant potential for the resection of skull base lesions.

Methods

The anatomical landmarks and surgical techniques used in expanded (extended) endoscopic approaches to the clivus and cervicomedullary junction are reviewed and presented, accompanied by case illustrations of each segment (or module) of approach.

The caudal portion of the midline anterior skull base and the cervicomedullary junction is divided into modules of approach: the middle third of the clivus, its lower third, and the cervicomedullary junction. Case illustrations of successful resections of lesions via each module of the approach are presented and discussed.

Conclusions

Endoscopic expanded endonasal approaches to caudally located midline anterior skull base and cervicomedullary lesions are feasible and hold great potential for decreased morbidity. The effectiveness and appropriate use of these techniques must be evaluated by close examination of outcomes as case series expand.