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Ramin A. Morshed, Seunggu J. Han, Darryl Lau, and Mitchel S. Berger

Surgery guided by 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) fluorescence has become a valuable adjunct in the resection of malignant intracranial gliomas. Furthermore, the fluorescence intensity of biopsied areas of a resection cavity correlates with histological identification of tumor cells. However, in the case of lesions deep within a resection cavity, light penetration may be suboptimal, resulting in less excitation of 5-ALA metabolites, leading to decreased fluorescence emission. To address this obstacle, the authors report on the use of a 400-nm wavelength fiber-optic lighted suction instrument that can be used both during resection of a tumor and to provide direct light to deeper areas of a resection cavity. In the presented case, this wavelength-specific lighted suction instrument improved the fluorescence intensity of patches of malignant tissue within the resection cavity. This technique may further improve the utility of 5-ALA in identifying tumor-infiltrated tissue for deep-seated lesions. Additionally, this tool may have implications for scoring systems that correlate 5-ALA fluorescence intensity with histological identification of malignant cells.

Open access

Lauro N. Avalos, Ramin A. Morshed, and Ezequiel Goldschmidt

BACKGROUND

Acute intratumoral hemorrhage within a vestibular schwannoma, or vestibular apoplexy, is a rare condition. Unlike the typical insidious vestibulopathy typically caused by vestibular schwannoma growth, patients with vestibular apoplexy have an acute and severe presentation with nausea and emesis in addition to severe vertigo and hearing loss. Here, the authors present an illustrative case demonstrating this rare clinical condition and an operative video detailing the surgical management.

OBSERVATIONS

A 76-year-old man presented to the emergency department with acute-onset dizziness, left-ear fullness, double vision, gait ataxia, emesis, and facial numbness. Imaging revealed a 2.8-cm hemorrhagic left cerebellopontine angle lesion extending into the left internal auditory canal, consistent with hemorrhagic vestibular schwannoma. The patient subsequently underwent a retrosigmoid craniotomy for resection of the hemorrhagic mass, and by 1 month after surgery, all his presenting symptoms had resolved, allowing his return to daily activities.

LESSONS

Vestibular schwannomas typically present with decreased hearing and chronic vestibulopathy. Acute presentation should raise the suspicion for an apoplectic event, and surgical debulking may lead to improvement in most vestibular symptoms.

Open access

Hernán F. J. González, Ramin A. Morshed, and Ezequiel Goldschmidt

BACKGROUND

Acute postoperative sialadenitis is a rare and potentially morbid complication of cranial neurosurgery. This rapidly progressive, unilateral neck swelling often presents within hours of extubation. Diagnosis is made by imaging and exclusion of other causes of etiologies, such as neck hematoma, sialolithiasis, and dependent soft tissue edema.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors presented a case of acute postoperative sialadenitis after suboccipital resection of a right cerebellar metastasis. Shortly after extubation, extensive left-sided neck swelling was apparent in the postanesthesia care unit. No central lines were placed during the procedure. Imaging revealed submandibular gland edema and fluid accumulation in the surrounding tissue. The patient was managed conservatively with steroids, antibiotics, and warm compresses, with complete resolution of symptoms 2 weeks after the procedure.

LESSONS

This case emphasizes the broad differential of acute neck swelling after cranial surgery. Physical examination of the neck and airway protection should guide initial treatment. If a patient is stable, bedside ultrasound and computed tomography can be helpful with the differential diagnosis. Here the authors proposed an algorithm for diagnosis and treatment of acute neck swelling after cranial surgery.

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Ramin A. Morshed, Darryl Lau, Peter P. Sun, and Lauren R. Ostling

Choroid plexus papillomas (CPPs) are typically benign tumors that can occur in any age group but are more commonly found in pediatric patients. Although these tumors are benign, there are several reports in adult patients of distant metastases present either at the time of diagnosis or occurring months to years after initial resection. Here, the authors report the case of a 14-year-old boy who presented with symptoms of elevated intracranial pressure due to obstructive hydrocephalus that was caused by a large fourth ventricular mass. Preoperative imaging included a full MRI of the spine, which revealed an intradural lesion that encased the distal sacral nerve roots at the tip of the thecal sac and was concerning for a drop metastasis. The patient underwent gross-total resection of both the fourth ventricular and sacral tumors with histology of both lesions consistent with benign CPP (WHO Grade I). In addition, the authors review prior reports of both pediatric and adult patients in whom benign CPPs have metastasized with either benign or atypical pathology found at a distant site. Taking into account this unusual case and reports in the literature, patients with even benign CPPs may warrant initial and routine follow-up imaging of the total neural axis in search of the rare, but possible, occurrence of drop metastasis.

Open access

Daniel D. Cummins, Ramin A. Morshed, Tarik Tihan, and Sandeep Kunwar

BACKGROUND

There are numerous atypical lesions of the sellar and suprasellar region that are often mistaken for pituitary adenomas. It is important to consider rare mimics of more common pathologies in this region.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors detail the case of a 37-year-old woman with hypopituitarism who was found to have an atypical sellar mass with slow growth on interval imaging. The lesion was debulked via a microscopic endonasal transsphenoidal approach and found to be a calcifying pseudoneoplasm of the neuraxis (CAPNON).

LESSONS

CAPNON is a rare disease entity that may affect the sellar region. CAPNON should be on the differential diagnosis for sellar masses that are associated with T1 and T2 hypointensity on magnetic resonance imaging with minimal enhancement. Although CAPNON is not at risk for malignant progression, these benign lesions can continue to grow after a subtotal resection and require follow-up.

Open access

Jacob S. Young, Ramin A. Morshed, John P. Andrews, Soonmee Cha, and Mitchel S. Berger

BACKGROUND

Prosopagnosia is a rare neurological condition characterized by the impairment of face perception with preserved visual processing and cognitive functioning and is associated with injury to the fusiform gyrus and inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF). Reports of this clinical impairment following resection of right temporal lobe diffuse gliomas in the absence of contralateral injury are exceedingly scarce and not expected as a complication of surgery.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors describe the case of a young female patient found to have an incidental diffuse glioma in the right inferior temporal lobe despite evidence of preoperative ILF disruption by the tumor. Following resection of the lesion, despite the preoperative disruption to the ILF by the tumor, the patient developed prosopagnosia. There was no evidence of contralateral, left-sided ILF injury.

LESSONS

Given the significant functional impairment associated with prosopagnosia, neurosurgeons should be aware of the exceedingly rare possibility of a visual-processing deficit following unilateral and, in this case, right-sided inferior temporal lobe glioma resections. More investigation is needed to determine whether preoperative testing can determine dominance of facial-processing networks for patients with lesions in the right inferior posterior temporooccipital lobe and whether intraoperative mapping could help prevent this complication.

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Eric J. Chalif, Ramin A. Morshed, Jacob S. Young, Alexander F. Haddad, Saket Jain, and Manish K. Aghi

OBJECTIVE

Decision-making in how to manage pituitary adenomas (PAs) in the elderly (age ≥ 65 years) can be challenging given the benign nature of these tumors and concerns about surgical morbidity in these patients. In this study involving a large multicenter national registry, the authors examined treatment trends and surgical outcomes in elderly compared to nonelderly patients.

METHODS

The National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) was queried for adults aged ≥ 18 years with PA diagnosed by MRI (in observed cases) or pathology (in surgical cases) from 2004 to 2016. Univariate and multivariate logistic regressions were used to evaluate the prognostic impact of age and other covariates on 30- and 90-day postsurgical mortality (30M/90M), prolonged (≥ 5 days) length of inpatient hospital stay (LOS), and extent of resection.

RESULTS

A total of 96,399 cases met the study inclusion criteria, 27% of which were microadenomas and 73% of which were macroadenomas. Among these cases were 25,464 elderly patients with PA. Fifty-three percent of these elderly patients were treated with surgery, 1.9% underwent upfront radiotherapy, and 44.9% were observed without treatment. Factors associated with surgical treatment compared to observation included younger age, higher income, private insurance, higher Charlson-Deyo comorbidity (CD) score, larger tumor size, and receiving treatment at an academic hospital (each p ≤ 0.01). Elderly patients undergoing surgery had increased rates of 30M (1.4% vs 0.6%), 90M (2.8% vs 0.9%), prolonged LOS (26.1% vs 23.0%), and subtotal resection (27.2% vs 24.5%; each p ≤ 0.01) compared to those in nonelderly PA patients. On multivariate analysis, age, tumor size, and CD score were independently associated with worse postsurgical mortality. High-volume facilities (HVFs) had significantly better outcomes than low-volume facilities: 30M (0.9% vs 1.8%, p < 0.001), 90M (2.0% vs 3.5%, p < 0.001), and prolonged LOS (21.8% vs 30.3%, p < 0.001). A systematic literature review composed of 22 studies demonstrated an elderly PA patient mortality rate of 0.7%, which is dramatically lower than real-world NCDB outcomes and speaks to substantial selection bias in the previously published literature.

CONCLUSIONS

The study findings confirm that elderly patients with PA are at higher risk for postoperative mortality than younger patients. Surgical risk in this age group may have been previously underreported in the literature. Resection at HVFs better reflects these historical rates, which has important implications in elderly patients for whom surgery is being considered.

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Michael M. Safaee, Ramin A. Morshed, Jordan Spatz, Sujatha Sankaran, Mitchel S. Berger, and Manish K. Aghi

OBJECTIVE

Interfacility neurosurgical transfers to tertiary care centers are driven by a number of variables, including lack of on-site coverage, limited available technology, insurance factors, and patient preference. The authors sought to assess the timing and necessity of surgery and compared transfers to their institution from emergency departments (ED) and inpatient units at other hospitals.

METHODS

Adult neurosurgical patients who were transferred to a single tertiary care center were analyzed over 12 months. Patients with traumatic injuries or those referred from skilled nursing facilities or rehabilitation centers were excluded.

RESULTS

A total of 504 transferred patients were included, with mean age 55 years (range 19–92 years); 53% of patients were women. Points of origin were ED in 54% cases and inpatient hospital unit in 46%, with a mean distance traveled for most patients of 119 miles. Broad diagnosis categories included brain tumors (n = 142, 28%), vascular lesions, including spontaneous and hypertensive intracerebral hemorrhage (n = 143, 28%), spinal lesions (n = 126, 25%), hydrocephalus (n = 45, 9%), wound complications (n = 29, 6%), and others (n = 19, 4%). Patients transferred from inpatient units had higher rates of surgical intervention (75% vs 57%, p < 0.001), whereas patients transferred from the ED had higher rates of urgent surgery (20% vs 8%, p < 0.001) and shorter mean time to surgery (3 vs 5 days, p < 0.001). Misdiagnosis rates were higher among ED referrals (11% vs 4%, p = 0.008). Across the same timeframe, patients undergoing elective admission (n = 1986) or admission from the authors’ own ED (n = 248) had significantly shorter lengths of stay (p < 0.001) and ICU days (p < 0.001) than transferred patients, as well as a significantly lower total cost ($44,412, $46,163, and $72,175, respectively; p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors present their 12-month experience from a single tertiary care center without Level I trauma designation. In this cohort, 65% of patients required surgery, but the rates were higher among inpatient referrals, and misdiagnosis rates were higher among ED transfers. These data suggest that admitting nonemergency patients to local hospitals may improve diagnostic accuracy of patients requiring urgent care, more precisely identify patients in need of transfer, and reduce costs. Referring facilities may lack necessary resources or expertise, and the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) obligates tertiary care centers to accept these patients under those circumstances. Telemedicine and integration of electronic medical records may help guide referring hospitals to pursue additional workup, which may eliminate the need for unnecessary transfer and provide additional cost savings.

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Ramin A. Morshed, Jacob S. Young, Seunggu J. Han, Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper, and Mitchel S. Berger

OBJECTIVE

Many surgical approaches have been described for lesions within the mesial temporal lobe (MTL), but there are limited reports on the transcortical approach for the resection of tumors within this region. Here, the authors describe the technical considerations and functional outcomes in patients undergoing transcortical resection of gliomas of the MTL.

METHODS

Patients with a glioma (WHO grades I–IV) located within the MTL who had undergone the transcortical approach in the period between 1998 and 2016 were identified through the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) tumor registry and were classified according to tumor location: preuncus, uncus, hippocampus/parahippocampus, and various combinations of the former groups. Patient and tumor characteristics and outcomes were determined from operative, radiology, pathology, and other clinical reports that were available through the UCSF electronic medical record.

RESULTS

Fifty patients with low- or high-grade glioma were identified. The mean patient age was 46.8 years, and the mean follow-up was 3 years. Seizures were the presenting symptom in 82% of cases. Schramm types A, C, and D represented 34%, 28%, and 38% of the tumors, and the majority of lesions were located at least in part within the hippocampus/parahippocampus. For preuncus and preuncus/uncus tumors, a transcortical approach through the temporal pole allowed for resection. For most tumors of the uncus and those extending into the hippocampus/parahippocampus, a corticectomy was performed within the middle and/or inferior temporal gyri to approach the lesion. To locate the safest corridor for the corticectomy, language mapping was performed in 96.9% of the left-sided tumor cases, and subcortical motor mapping was performed in 52% of all cases. The mean volumetric extent of resection of low- and high-grade tumors was 89.5% and 96.0%, respectively, and did not differ by tumor location or Schramm type. By 3 months’ follow-up, 12 patients (24%) had residual deficits, most of which were visual field deficits. Three patients with left-sided tumors (9.4% of dominant-cortex lesions) experienced word-finding difficulty at 3 months after resection, but 2 of these patients demonstrated complete resolution of symptoms by 1 year.

CONCLUSIONS

Mesial temporal lobe gliomas, including larger Schramm type C and D tumors, can be safely and aggressively resected via a transcortical equatorial approach when used in conjunction with cortical and subcortical mapping.

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Ramin A. Morshed, Jacob S. Young, Seunggu J. Han, Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper, and Mitchel S. Berger

OBJECTIVE

Greater extent of resection (EOR) improves overall survival and progression-free survival for patients with low- and high-grade glioma. While resection for newly diagnosed insular gliomas can be performed with minimal morbidity, perioperative morbidity is not clearly defined for patients undergoing a repeat resection for recurrent insular gliomas. In this study the authors report on tumor characteristics, tumor EOR, and functional outcomes in patients undergoing reoperation for recurrent insular glioma.

METHODS

Adult patients with insular gliomas (WHO grades II–IV) who underwent index resection followed by reoperation were identified through the University of California San Francisco Brain Tumor Center. Treatment history and functional outcomes were collected retrospectively from the electronic medical record. Pre- and postoperative tumor volumes were quantified using software with region-of-interest analysis based on FLAIR and T1-weighted postgadolinium sequences from pre- and postoperative MRI.

RESULTS

Forty-four patients (63.6% male, 36.4% female) undergoing 49 reoperations for recurrent insular tumors were identified with a median follow-up of 741 days. Left- and right-sided tumors comprised 52.3% and 47.7% of the cohort, respectively. WHO grade II, III, and IV gliomas comprised 46.9%, 28.6%, and 24.5% of the cohort, respectively. Ninety-five percent (95.9%) of cases involved language and/or motor mapping. Median EOR of the insular component of grade II, III, and IV tumors were 82.1%, 75.0%, and 94.6%, respectively. EOR during reoperation was not impacted by Berger-Sanai insular zone or tumor side. At the time of reoperation, 44.9% of tumors demonstrated malignant transformation to a higher WHO grade. Ninety-day postoperative assessment confirmed that 91.5% of patients had no new postoperative deficit attributable to surgery. Of those with new deficits, 3 (6.4%) had a visual field cut and 1 (2.1%) had hemiparesis (strength grade 1–2/5). The presence of a new postoperative deficit did not vary with EOR.

CONCLUSIONS

Recurrent insular gliomas, regardless of insular zone and pathology, may be reoperated on with an overall acceptable degree of resection and safety despite their anatomical and functional complexities. The use of intraoperative mapping utilizing asleep or awake methods may reduce morbidity to acceptable rates despite prior surgery.