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Courtney E. Sherman, Peter S. Rose, Lori L. Pierce, Michael J. Yaszemski and Franklin H. Sim


Sacrectomy positioning must balance surgical exposure, localization, associated operative procedures, and patient safety. Poor positioning may increase hemorrhage, risk of blindness, and skin breakdown.


The authors prospectively identified positioning-related morbidity in 17 patients undergoing 19 prone sacral procedures from September 2008 to August 2009 following institution of a standardized positioning protocol. Key elements include skull traction/head suspension, an open radiolucent frame, and wide draping for associated closure and reconstructive procedures.


Tumors included 5 chordomas, 4 high-grade sarcomas, 1 chondrosarcoma, 2 presacral extradural myxopapillary ependymomas, and 5 others. Mean patient age was 49.9 years (range 17–74 years); mean body mass index was 27.6 kg/m2 (range 19.3–43.9 kg/m2). Mean preoperative Braden skin integrity score was 21.1 (range 17–23). Average operative time was 501 minutes (range 158–1136 minutes). Prone surgery was a part of staged anterior/posterior resections in 8 patients. Localization was conducted using fluoroscopy in 13 patients and intraoperative CT in 4 patients. All imaging studies were successful. One patient developed a transient ulnar nerve palsy attributed to positioning. Three patients (two of whom were morbidly obese) developed Stage I pressure injuries to the chest and another developed Stage II pressure injury following a 1136-minute procedure. Morbidity was only observed in patients with morbid obesity or with procedures lasting in excess of 10 hours.


A positioning protocol using head suspension on an open radiolucent frame facilitates oncological sacral surgery with reasonable patient morbidity. Morbid obesity and procedure times in excess of 10 hours are risk factors for positioning-related complications. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of surgical positioning morbidity in this patient population.

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Justin A. Neira, Timothy H. Ung, Jennifer S. Sims, Hani R. Malone, Daniel S. Chow, Jorge L. Samanamud, George J. Zanazzi, Xiaotao Guo, Stephen G. Bowden, Binsheng Zhao, Sameer A. Sheth, Guy M. McKhann II, Michael B. Sisti, Peter Canoll, Randy S. D'Amico and Jeffrey N. Bruce


Extent of resection is an important prognostic factor in patients undergoing surgery for glioblastoma (GBM). Recent evidence suggests that intravenously administered fluorescein sodium associates with tumor tissue, facilitating safe maximal resection of GBM. In this study, the authors evaluate the safety and utility of intraoperative fluorescein guidance for the prediction of histopathological alteration both in the contrast-enhancing (CE) regions, where this relationship has been established, and into the non-CE (NCE), diffusely infiltrated margins.


Thirty-two patients received fluorescein sodium (3 mg/kg) intravenously prior to resection. Fluorescence was intraoperatively visualized using a Zeiss Pentero surgical microscope equipped with a YELLOW 560 filter. Stereotactically localized biopsy specimens were acquired from CE and NCE regions based on preoperative MRI in conjunction with neuronavigation. The fluorescence intensity of these specimens was subjectively classified in real time with subsequent quantitative image analysis, histopathological evaluation of localized biopsy specimens, and radiological volumetric assessment of the extent of resection.


Bright fluorescence was observed in all GBMs and localized to the CE regions and portions of the NCE margins of the tumors, thus serving as a visual guide during resection. Gross-total resection (GTR) was achieved in 84% of the patients with an average resected volume of 95%, and this rate was higher among patients for whom GTR was the surgical goal (GTR achieved in 93.1% of patients, average resected volume of 99.7%). Intraoperative fluorescein staining correlated with histopathological alteration in both CE and NCE regions, with positive predictive values by subjective fluorescence evaluation greater than 96% in NCE regions.


Intraoperative administration of fluorescein provides an easily visualized marker for glioma pathology in both CE and NCE regions of GBM. These findings support the use of fluorescein as a microsurgical adjunct for guiding GBM resection to facilitate safe maximal removal.