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Paul J. Schmitt and John A. Jane Jr.

The history of endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) demonstrates the importance of studying neurosurgery's history. A story that began with numerous technological advancements started to fizzle as neurosurgeons were stymied by problems encountered during the infancy of the technology they were still developing. The new technique, although sound in theory, failed to deliver a realistic solution for managing hydrocephalus; it lost the battle to the valved shunt. Over the last 15–20 years, a clearer understanding of pathophysiological mechanisms underlying various forms of hydrocephalus, along with effective implementation of evidence-based practice, has allowed for optimization of patient selection and a remarkable improvement in ETV success rates. Neurosurgeons would be wise to take the lessons learned in modernizing the ETV procedure and reassure themselves that these lessons do not apply to other methods that are tempting to dismiss as antiquated or archaic.

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Jason P. Sheehan, Zhiyuan Xu, David J. Salvetti, Paul J. Schmitt and Mary Lee Vance


Cushing's disease is a challenging neuroendocrine disorder. Although resection remains the primary treatment option for most patients, the disease persists if there is residual or recurrent tumor. Stereotactic radiosurgery has been used to treat patients with persistent Cushing's disease after a prior resection. The authors report on the long-term risks and benefits of radiosurgery for Cushing's disease.


A retrospective review of a prospectively collected database of radiosurgery patients was undertaken at the University of Virginia. All patients with Cushing's disease treated with Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) were identified. Those without at least 12 months of clinical and radiological follow-up were excluded from this analysis. Rates of endocrine remission, tumor control, and adverse events were assessed. Statistical methods were used to identify favorable and unfavorable prognostic factors.


Ninety-six patients with the required follow-up data were identified. The mean tumor margin dose was 22 Gy. The median follow-up was 48 months (range 12–209.8 months). At the last follow-up, remission of Cushing's disease occurred in 70% of patients. The median time to remission among all patients was 16.6 months (range 1–165.7 months). The median time to remission in those who had temporarily stopped taking ketoconazole at the time of GKS was 12.6 months, whereas it was 21.8 months in those who continued to receive ketoconazole (p < 0.012). Tumor control was achieved in 98% of patients. New loss of pituitary function occurred in 36% of patients. New or worsening cranial neuropathies developed in 5 patients after GKS, with the most common involving cranial nerves II and III.


Gamma Knife surgery offers a high rate of tumor control and a reasonable rate of endocrine remission in patients with Cushing's disease. The cessation of cortisol-lowering medications around the time of GKS appears to result in a more rapid rate of remission. Delayed hypopituitarism and endocrine recurrence develop in a minority of patients and underscore the need for long-term multidisciplinary follow-up.

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Alexandra M. Giantini Larsen, David J. Cote, Hasan A. Zaidi, Wenya Linda Bi, Paul J. Schmitt, J. Bryan Iorgulescu, Michael B. Miller, Timothy R. Smith, M. Beatriz Lopes, John A. Jane Jr. and Edward R. Laws Jr.


The authors report the diagnosis, management, and outcomes of 6 cases of spindle cell oncocytoma (SCO) in an effort to guide clinical diagnosis and management of these uncommon lesions.


This study is a retrospective review of cases involving adult patients who underwent resection of pituitary lesions at the authors’ institutions between January 2000 and October 2017. The authors identified patients with histopathological confirmation of SCO and collected clinical data, including preoperative, perioperative, and postoperative management, complications, and outcomes.


Six patients with SCO were identified. Clinical findings at initial presentation included visual disturbances, dizziness, and headache. All patients underwent resection. Four resections were initially performed by the transsphenoidal approach, and 2 resections were performed by craniotomy at an outside institution with subsequent transsphenoidal reoperations. Neither necrosis nor increased mitotic activity was seen in the tumor samples. All samples stained positive for S100 protein and thyroid transcription factor 1 and negative for glial fibrillary acidic protein and pituitary hormones. Five of the samples stained positive for epithelial membrane antigen. The average MIB-1 index was 8.3% (range 2–17). Postoperatively, 3 of the 6 patients received further treatment for progression of residual tumor or for recurrence, 2 have stable residual tumor, and 1 has had no recurrence after gross-total resection. Two patients developed postoperative complications of transient sixth cranial nerve palsy and diplopia. There were no other complications.


SCO poses both a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge. These tumors are often initially misdiagnosed as nonfunctional pituitary adenomas because of their sellar location and nonspecific symptomatology. Postoperatively, SCO must also be distinguished from other neoplasms of the posterior pituitary gland through histopathological examination. Resection of SCO can be challenging, given its highly vascular and adherent nature. Long-term follow-up is critical, as the tumor is associated with higher recurrence and progression rates compared to other benign neoplasms of the sella.