Peter F. Morgenstern and Jared Knopman
JNSPG 75th Anniversary Invited Review Article
Theodore H. Schwartz, Peter F. Morgenstern and Vijay K. Anand
Endoscopic skull base surgery (ESBS) is a relatively recent addition to the neurosurgical armamentarium. As with many new approaches, there has been significant controversy regarding its value compared with more traditional approaches to ventral skull base pathology. Although early enthusiasm for new approaches that appear less invasive is usually high, these new techniques require rigorous study to ensure that widespread implementation is in the best interest of patients.
The authors compared surgical results for ESBS with transcranial surgery (TCS) for several different pathologies over two different time periods (prior to 2012 and 2012–2017) to see how results have evolved over time. Pathologies examined were craniopharyngioma, anterior skull base meningioma, esthesioneuroblastoma, chordoma, and chondrosarcoma.
ESBS offers clear advantages over TCS for most craniopharyngiomas and chordomas. For well-selected cases of planum sphenoidale and tuberculum sellae meningiomas, ESBS has similar rates of resection with higher rates of visual improvement, and more recent results with lower CSF leaks make the complication rates similar between the two approaches. TCS offers a higher rate of resection with fewer complications for olfactory groove meningiomas. ESBS is preferred for lower-grade esthesioneuroblastomas, but higher-grade tumors often still require a craniofacial approach. There are few data on chondrosarcomas, but early results show that ESBS appears to offer clear advantages for minimizing morbidity with similar rates of resection, as long as surgeons are familiar with more complex inferolateral approaches.
ESBS is maturing into a well-established approach that is clearly in the patients’ best interest when applied by experienced surgeons for appropriate pathology. Ongoing critical reevaluation of outcomes is essential for ensuring optimal results.
Mark M. Souweidane, Peter F. Morgenstern, Sungkwon Kang, Apostolos John Tsiouris and Jonathan Roth
Fenestration of the floor of the third ventricle is vital to the success of endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) in treating patients with noncommunicating hydrocephalus. A generous prepontine interval (PPI) is generally accepted as one anatomical feature that may affect the safety and functionality of ETV. Whether a diminished PPI influences the safety or success of ETV, however, has not been adequately assessed.
A review was conducted on the last 100 ETV procedures performed by the first author (M.M.S.). From archived preoperative MR imaging studies, the PPI was measured between the dorsum sellae and the basilar artery. For any patient with an interval of ≤1 mm, the technical and functional success of the procedure was recorded. Technical success was defined when a surgically created fenestration was accomplished without patient morbidity. Functional success was defined as the patient not needing any additional CSF diversionary procedure within 3 months after ETV.
In the entire cohort, the PPI ranged from 0 to 9.5 mm (mean 3.2 mm). There were 15 procedures performed in patients with a PPI of ≤1 mm. In all 15 procedures, a fenestration of the tuber cinereum was accomplished without vascular injury or patient morbidity. The ETV was successful in 11 patients (73.3%). All 4 failures occurred in children who had surgery during infancy (mean age 11 months).
Patients with an obliterated or reduced PPI can safely undergo ETV. The functional success rate appears equivalent to historical controls. Most failures in this series may be attributed to other patient characteristics, namely young age at the time of ETV.
Iryna Ivasyk, Peter F. Morgenstern, Eva Wembacher-Schroeder and Mark M. Souweidane
Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) uses positive pressure to induce convective flow of molecules and maximize drug distribution. Concerns have been raised about the effect of cystic structures on uniform drug distribution with CED. The authors describe the case of a patient with a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) with a large cyst and examine its effect on drug distribution after CED with a radiolabeled antibody. The patient was treated according to protocol with CED of 124I-8H9 to the pons for nonprogressive DIPG after radiation therapy as part of a Phase I trial (clinical trial registration no. NCT01502917, clinicaltrials.gov). Care was taken to avoid the cystic cavity in the planned catheter track and target point. Co-infusion with Gd-DTPA was performed to assess drug distribution. Infusate distribution was examined by MRI immediately following infusion and analyzed using iPlan Flow software. Analysis of postinfusion MR images demonstrated convective distribution around the catheter tip and an elongated configuration of drug distribution, consistent with the superoinferior corticospinal fiber orientation in the brainstem. This indicates that the catheter was functioning and a pressure gradient was established. No infusate entry into the cystic region could be identified on T2-weighted FLAIR or T1-weighted images. The effects of ependymal and pial surfaces on drug delivery using CED in brainstem tumors remain controversial. Drug distribution is a critical component of effective application of CED to neurosurgical lesions. This case suggests that cyst cavities may not always behave as fluid “sinks” for drug distribution. The authors observed that infusate was not lost into the cyst cavity, suggesting that lesions with cystic components can be treated by CED without significant alterations to target and infusion planning.
Peter F. Morgenstern, Nathan Osbun, Theodore H. Schwartz, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Apostolos John Tsiouris and Mark M. Souweidane
Simultaneous endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) and tumor biopsy is a widely accepted therapeutic and diagnostic procedure for patients with noncommunicating hydrocephalus secondary to a pineal region tumor. Multiple approaches have been advocated, including the use of a steerable fiberoptic or rigid lens endoscope via 1 or 2 trajectories. However, the optimal approach has not been established based on the individual anatomical characteristics of the patient.
A retrospective review of patients undergoing simultaneous ETV and tumor biopsy was undertaken. Preoperative MR images were examined to measure the width of the anterior third ventricle and maximal diameters of the tumor, Monro foramen (right), and massa intermedia. The distances between the tumor and massa intermedia, tumor and anterior commissure, midbrain and massa intermedia, and the dorsum sella and anterior commissure were also recorded. Single and dual trajectory approaches were compared using paired t-tests for each parameter.
Over an 8-year interval, 15 patients underwent simultaneous ETV and tumor management. These patients ranged from 6 to 71 years of age (mean 36.7 years); 5 were younger than 18 years of age. Seven were treated using a dual trajectory approach, and 8 were treated using a single trajectory approach. All cases were completed without complications or the need for an additional CSF diversionary procedure within 6 months. The diagnostic yield at biopsy was 86.7%. There were no statistically significant differences between the single and dual trajectory groups for the measured parameters. However, the dual trajectory group demonstrated a larger anterior third ventricular diameter (1.43 vs 1.21 cm, p = 0.29). The single trajectory group trended toward a smaller tumor–anterior commissure interval (2.23 vs 2.51 cm, p = 0.24) and a larger dorsum sella–anterior commissure distance (1.67 vs 1.49 cm, p = 0.28).
These data confirm the safety and diagnostic efficacy of simultaneous ETV and biopsy for tumors of the pineal region. Although no statistically significant differences were seen in the authors' recorded measurements, several trends suggest a role for a tailored approach to selecting a single or dual trajectory approach when using a rigid endoscope.
Peter F. Morgenstern, Caitlin E. Hoffman, Gary Kocharian, Ranjodh Singh, Philip E. Stieg and Mark M. Souweidane
The optimal method for detecting recurrent arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) in children is unknown. An inherent preference exists for MR angiography (MRA) surveillance rather than arteriography. The validity of this strategy is uncertain.
A retrospective chart review was performed on pediatric patients treated for cerebral AVMs at a single institution from 1998 to 2012. Patients with complete obliteration of the AVM nidus after treatment and more than 12 months of follow-up were included in the analysis. Data collection focused on recurrence rates, associated risk factors, and surveillance methods.
A total of 45 patients with a mean age of 11.7 years (range 0.5–18 years) were treated for AVMs via surgical, endovascular, radiosurgical, or combined approaches. Total AVM obliteration on posttreatment digital subtraction angiography (DSA) was confirmed in 27 patients, of whom the 20 with more than 12 months of follow-up were included in subsequent analysis. The mean follow-up duration in this cohort was 5.75 years (median 5.53 years, range 1.11–10.64 years). Recurrence occurred in 3 of 20 patients (15%). Two recurrences were detected by surveillance DSA and 1 at the time of rehemorrhage. No recurrences were detected by MRA. Median time to recurrence was 33.6 months (range 19–71 months). Two patients (10%) underwent follow-up DSA, 5 (25%) had DSA and MRI/MRA, 9 (45%) had MRI/MRA only, 1 (5%) had CT angiography only, and 3 (15%) had no imaging within the first 3 years of follow-up. After 5 years posttreatment, 2 patients (10%) were followed with MRI/MRA only, 2 (10%) with DSA only, and 10 (50%) with continued DSA and MRI/MRA.
AVM recurrence in children occurred at a median of 33.6 months, when MRA was more commonly used for surveillance, but failed to detect any recurrences. A recurrence rate of 15% may be an underestimate given the reliance on surveillance MRA over angiography. A new surveillance strategy is proposed, taking into account exposure to diagnostic radiation and the potential for catastrophic rehemorrhage.
Peter F. Morgenstern, Zhiping Zhou, Eva Wembacher-Schröder, Vincent Cina, Apostolos John Tsiouris and Mark M. Souweidane
Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) has been explored as a therapeutic strategy for diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). Variables that may affect tolerance include infusate volume, infusion rate, catheter trajectory, and target position. Supratentorial approaches for catheter placement and infusate distribution patterns may conflict with corticospinal tracts (CSTs). The clinical relevance of these anatomical constraints has not been described. The authors report their experience using CED in the brainstem as it relates to anatomical CST conflict and association with clinical tolerance.
In a phase I clinical trial of CED for DIPG (clinical trial registration no. NCT01502917, clinicaltrials.gov), a flexible infusion catheter was placed with MRI guidance for infusion of 124I-8H9, a radioimmunotherapeutic agent. Intra- and postprocedural MR images were analyzed to identify catheter trajectories and changes in T2-weighted signal intensity to approximate volume of distribution (Vd). Intersection of CST by the catheter and overlap between Vd and CST were recorded and their correlation with motor deficits was evaluated.
Thirty-one patients with a mean age of 7.6 years (range 3.2–18 years) underwent 39 catheter insertions for CED between 2012 and 2017. Thirty catheter insertions had tractography data available for analysis. The mean trajectory length was 105.5 mm (range 92.7–121.6 mm). The mean number of intersections of CST by catheter was 2.2 (range 0–3) and the mean intersecting length was 18.9 mm (range 0–44.2 mm). The first 9 infusions in the highest dose level (range 3.84–4.54 ml infusate) were analyzed for Vd overlap with CST. In this group, the mean age was 7.6 years (range 5.8–10.3 years), the mean trajectory length was 109.5 mm (range 102.6–122.3 mm), and the mean overlap between Vd and CST was 5.5 cm3. For catheter placement–related adverse events, 1 patient (3%) had worsening of a contralateral facial nerve palsy following the procedure with two CST intersections, an intersecting distance of 31.7 mm, and an overlap between Vd and CST of 3.64 cm3. For infusion-related adverse events, transient postinfusion deficits were noted in 3 patients in the highest dose level, with a mean number of 2 intersections of CST by catheter, mean intersecting length of 12.9 mm, and mean overlap between Vd and CST of 6.3 cm3.
A supratentorial approach to the brainstem crossing the CST resulted in one worsened neurological deficit. There does not appear to be a significant risk requiring avoidance of dominant motor fiber tracts with catheter trajectory planning. There was no correlation between Vd–CST overlap and neurological adverse events in this cohort.
Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01502917 (clinicaltrials.gov)
Erwin M. J. Cornips, Mariel Ter Laak-Poort, Alida A. Postma, Joost Nicolai and Johan S. H. Vles
Iyan Younus, Mina M. Gerges, Rafael Uribe-Cardenas, Peter F. Morgenstern, Mahmoud Eljalby, Abtin Tabaee, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Ashutosh Kacker, Vijay K. Anand and Theodore H. Schwartz
Endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs) to the skull base have evolved over the last 20 years to become an essential component of a comprehensive skull base practice. Many case series show a learning curve from the earliest cases, in which the authors were inexperienced or were not using advanced closure techniques. It is generally accepted that once this learning curve is achieved, a plateau is reached with little incremental improvement. Cases performed during the early steep learning curve were eliminated to examine whether the continued improvement exists over the “tail end” of the curve.
A prospectively acquired database of all EEA cases performed by the senior authors at Weill Cornell Medicine/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital was reviewed. The first 200 cases were eliminated and the next 1000 consecutive cases were examined to avoid the bias created by the early learning curve.
Of the 1000 cases, the most common pathologies included pituitary adenoma (51%), meningoencephalocele or CSF leak repair (8.6%), meningioma (8.4%), craniopharyngioma (7.3%), basilar invagination (3.1%), Rathke’s cleft cyst (2.8%), and chordoma (2.4%). Use of lumbar drains decreased from the first half to the second half of our series (p <0.05) as did the authors’ use of fat alone (p <0.005) or gasket alone (p <0.005) for dural closure, while the use of a nasoseptal flap increased (p <0.005). Although mean tumor diameter was constant (on average), gross-total resection (GTR) increased from 60% in the first half to 73% in the second half (p <0.005). GTR increased for all pathologies but most significantly for chordoma (56% vs 100%, p <0.05), craniopharyngioma (47% vs 0.71%, p <0.05) and pituitary adenoma (67% vs 75%, p <0.05). Hormonal cure for secreting adenomas also increased from 83% in the first half to 89% in the second half (p <0.05). The rate of any complication was unchanged at 6.4% in the first half and 6.2% in the latter half of cases, and vascular injury occurred in only 0.6% of cases. Postoperative CSF leak occurred in 2% of cases and was unchanged between the first and second half of the series.
This study demonstrates that contrary to popular belief, the surgical learning curve does not plateau but can continue for several years depending on the complexity of the endpoints considered. These findings may have implications for clinical trial design, surgical education, and patient safety measures.
Asif Raza Shafiq, A. Gabriella Wernicke, Charles Alex Riley, Peter F. Morgenstern, Lucy Nedialkova, Susan C. Pannullo, Bhupesh Parashar, Rajiv Magge and Theodore H. Schwartz
There are few therapeutic options available for the treatment of recurrent meningiomas that have failed treatment with surgery and external-beam radiation therapy (EBRT). As additional EBRT is clinically risky, brachytherapy offers an important alternative for optimizing local control. In skull base meningiomas, the endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) has demonstrated an excellent extent of resection. However, in the case of recurrent, atypical, or residual meningiomas, the EEA alone may not be adequate to address microscopic, residual, highly proliferative disease. In this situation, local radioactive seed brachytherapy has been shown to improve control, but few reports of this technique exist. A 48-year-old right-handed man presented on multiple occasions with recurrence of an anaplastic skull base meningioma, after multiple prior gross-total resections and multiple rounds of radiotherapy had failed. The authors performed a maximally safe neurosurgical tumor resection via EEA supplemented by the intraoperative implantation of 131Cs low-dose permanent brachytherapy seeds. They describe a technique for permanent implantation of brachytherapy seeds and provide operative video of this technique. The authors submit that utilizing this technique in combination with EEA tumor resection renders a minimally invasive approach to improving local control in a patient with a recurrent anaplastic or atypical meningioma of the skull base.