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R. Morgan Stuart and Robert R. Goodman

The authors describe the first reported application of a miniature, customized, one-time use, skull-mounted stereotactic frame for the implantation of depth electrodes for epilepsy monitoring.

Using a platform template, 4 skull fiducial markers were placed 1 week prior to surgery. A brain MR image and a CT scan were subsequently obtained. All planning (longitudinal trajectories into the hippocampi) was done preoperatively using personal computers in the office. No further workstation planning was necessary on the day of the operation. The StarFix microTargeting Platform system was secured to the previously implanted skull fiducial screws. Pin fixation was not required. The platform was used to identify the area of entry for the depth electrodes on the right and left sides. On each side, a 12-contact depth electrode was advanced to the depth of the targets without difficulty. A temporal craniotomy was then performed to place subdural electrodes.

The desired location of the electrodes was confirmed on postoperative imaging studies. There were no complications associated with the electrode implantation. The depth electrodes demonstrated symmetrical, robust coverage of each hippocampus, with epileptiform discharges observed bilaterally.

This first application of the StarFix platform for placing depth electrodes for epilepsy monitoring was both safe and feasible. With this technique, the patient does not need to be pinned or placed in a head holder, no imaging or computer planning is required on the day of implantation (which means there is no time pressure when the meticulous target/trajectory planning is done), and with bilateral posterior implants both bur holes can be made simultaneously. For these reasons this system may be preferable to existing methods of depth electrode implantation.

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Claudia S. Robertson, Richard Foltz, Robert G. Grossman and J. Clay Goodman

✓ The authors have studied the protection against ischemic damage to rabbit spinal cord by pretreatment with agents that block neuronal activity and directly or indirectly reduce tissue metabolism. Hypothermia, thiopental, magnesium, lidocaine, and naloxone were used to pretreat the spinal cord prior to ischemia. Hypothermia and thiopental provided comparable protection: they each increased the duration of ischemia required to produce neurological deficits in 50% of the animals from 26 to 41 minutes. They also increased from 10 to 30 minutes the time that the postsynaptic waves of the spinal somatosensory evoked potential (SSEP) could be absent and the animal still have neurological recovery. Hypothermia and thiopental, when used together, increased the duration of ischemia required to produce neurological deficits to 57 minutes in 50% of the animals. Naloxone increased the duration of ischemia required to produce neurological deficits to 36 minutes in 50% of the animals, and increased to 20 minutes the time that the postsynaptic waves of the SSEP could be absent and the animal still have neurological recovery. Magnesium pretreatment improved neurological outcome, possibly by improving collateral circulation as the SSEP did not fail completely during aortic occlusion in all animals. Lidocaine was not beneficial, perhaps because of the prolonged hypotension that resulted.

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Claudia S. Robertson, Robert G. Grossman, J. Clay Goodman and Raj K. Narayan

✓ Cerebral ischemia is a common mechanism of secondary brain injury following severe head injury. The cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen (CMRO2) and of lactate (CMRL), as well as cerebral blood flow (CBF) were measured daily for 5 days after head injury in 44 comatose head-injured patients to determine if metabolic changes could identify the patients who would develop cerebral infarction. Of 41 patients whose CBF remained at levels regarded as adequate to prevent infarction (CBF ≥ 0.2 ml/gm/min), the six who showed a cerebral infarction on computerized tomography (CT) scans exhibited characteristic cerebral metabolic patterns: a CMRO2 of less than 0.6 µmol/gm/min on one or more of the days monitored, and markedly elevated cerebral lactate production (CMRL < −0.06 µmol/gm/min) on Days 1 and/or 2 after injury. Patients who had no areas of infarction on serial CT scans typically had a CMRO2 of 0.6 µmol/gm/min or higher and a low cerebral lactate production. Measurement of CMRO2 and CMRL can be obtained at the bedside and can indicate the presence of an evolving ischemic infarct after head injury.

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Douglas S. Cohen, Geoffrey P. Zubay and Robert R. Goodman

✓ Cavernous malformations that are associated with seizures are often treated by surgical resection consisting of lesion removal, “lesionectomy,” alone. Through retrospective analysis the authors have examined some factors that may predict failure to eradicate seizures by such a procedure. A group of 51 patients were examined who had been treated for supratentorial cavernous malformations with preoperative seizures and received postoperative follow up lasting at least 1 year. There was one mortality in the group. Of the remaining 50 patients, 15 (30%) had continued postoperative seizures despite therapeutic levels of antiepileptic medications. Variables that were significantly associated with continued seizures postoperatively included increasing duration of preoperative seizure history (p = 0.03), increasing number of preoperative seizures (p < 0.003), and female sex (p < 0.04). One hundred percent of patients with only one preoperative seizure or a seizure history lasting less than 2 months were seizure free following lesionectomy: approximately 75% to 80% of all patients with two to five seizures, or a seizure history lasting 2 to 12 months, were seizure free; and only 50% to 55% of those with more than five seizures or with preoperative seizure histories lasting more than 1 year were seizure free postoperatively. This investigation indicates that patients with shorter seizure histories and fewer preoperative seizures can be effectively treated by lesionectomy alone, whereas those with longer histories and more seizures are not effectively treated by this procedure and may require more extensive resections.

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Richard C. Anderson, Jessica J. Grant, Robert de la Paz, Steven Frucht and Robert R. Goodman

Object. The syndrome of normal-pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) refers to the clinical triad of gait disturbance, dementia, and urinary incontinence in association with idiopathic ventriculomegaly and normal intracranial pressure. Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt placement often yields significant clinical improvements, sometimes without apparent reduction of ventricular size. The authors hypothesized that careful volumetric measurements would show a decrease in ventricular volume in these patients.

Methods. Twenty consecutive patients with NPH underwent placement of VP shunts equipped with programmable valves. In 11 patients pre- and postoperative neuroimaging was performed, which allowed volumetric analysis. Volumetric measurements of the lateral ventricles were calculated in triplicate by National Institutes of Health image-processing software to assess standard computerized tomography (CT) scans (eight patients) or magnetic resonance (MR) images (three patients) obtained before and after shunt placement. Ventricular volumes were also assessed by an independent neuroradiologist. Postoperative studies were performed at a time of clinical improvement, between 1 and 9 months postsurgery (mean 5 months). Preoperative and postoperative Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale evaluations were performed in four patients.

Significant clinical improvement occurred in all patients after shunt placement (mean follow-up period 17.5 months). Although 10 (91%) of 11 patients demonstrated a calculable decrease in volume in the lateral ventricles (mean decrease 39%), formal interpretation of neuroimages indicated a definite decrease in lateral ventricular volume in only three (27%) of 11 patients.

Conclusions. Volumetric measurements obtained to compare preoperative and postoperative CT or MR studies obtained in patients with NPH in whom clinical improvement was seen after shunt placement surgery show a demonstrable decrease in ventricular size. Volumetric measurements may be helpful in clinical assessment postoperatively and in guiding programmable valve pressure settings.

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Douglas S. Cohen, Jonathan H. Lustgarten, Erik Miller, Alexander G. Khandji and Robert R. Goodman

✓ Coregistration of different modality imaging serves to increase the ease and accuracy of stereotactic procedures. In many cases, magnetic resonance (MR) stereotaxis is supplanting computerized tomography (CT). The advantages of increased anatomical detail and multiplanar imaging afforded by MR, however, are offset by its potential inaccuracy as well as the more cumbersome and less available nature of its hardware. A system has been developed by one of the authors by which MR imaging can be performed separately without a stereotactic fiducial headring. Then, immediately prior to surgery, a stereotactic CT scan is obtained and software is used to coregister CT and MR images anatomically by matching cranial landmarks in the two scans. The authors examined this system in six patients as well as with the use of a lucite phantom. After initially coregistering CT and MR images, six separate anatomical (for the patients) and eight artificial (for the phantom) targets were compared. With coregistration, in comparison to CT fiducial scans, errors in each axis are less than or equal to 1 mm using the Cosman-Roberts-Wells system. In fact, the coregistered images are more accurate than MR fiducial images, in the anteroposterior (p = 0.001), lateral (p < 0.05), and vertical (p < 0.03) planes. Three-dimensional error was significantly less in the coregistered scans than the MR fiducial images (p < 0.005). The coregistration procedure therefore not only increases the ease of MR stereotaxis but also increases its accuracy.

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Claudia S. Robertson, J. Clay Goodman, Raj K. Narayan, Charles F. Contant and Robert G. Grossman

✓ The role of intravenous infusion of glucose in limiting ketogenesis and the effect of glucose on cerebral metabolism following severe head injury were studied in 21 comatose patients. The patients were randomly assigned to alimentation with or without glucose. Systemic protein wasting, arterial concentrations of energy substrates, and cerebral metabolism of these energy substrates were monitored for 5 days postinjury. Both groups were in negative nitrogen balance, and had wasting of systemic proteins despite substantial protein intake. Blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) glucose concentrations were highest on Day 1, but remained higher than normal fasting levels on all days of study, even in the patients who received no exogenous glucose. Although there were no differences in blood or CSF glucose concentrations in the two groups of patients, the glucose group had higher plasma insulin levels, with a mean ± standard deviation of 14.8 ± 7.3 µU/ml compared to 10.3 ± 4.2 µU/ml in the saline group. The blood concentrations of β-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate, pyruvate, glycerol, and the free fatty acids were higher in the saline group than in the glucose group. Cerebral oxygen consumption was similar in the two groups, while the cerebral metabolism of glucose and of the ketone bodies was dependent on whether glucose was administered. In the glucose group, glucose was the only energy substrate utilized by the brain. In the saline group, the ketone bodies β-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate replaced glucose to the extent of 16% of the brain's total energy production. Cerebral lactate production and CSF lactate concentration were lower in the saline group. These studies suggest that administration of glucose during the early recovery period of severe head injury is a major cause of suppressed ketogenesis, and may increase production of lactic acid by the traumatized brain by limiting the availability of nonglycolytic energy substrates.

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Jason A. Ellis, Richard C. E. Anderson, Jonathan O'Hanlon, Robert R. Goodman, Neil A. Feldstein and Saadi Ghatan


Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) may be refractory to available medical and surgical therapies. Patients with this condition may suffer from intractable headaches, experience visual deterioration, or have other symptoms related to elevated intracranial pressure. Internal cranial expansion (ICE) is a novel surgical procedure that the authors have developed for the treatment of patients with this condition. Here, they describe ICE and present their initial experience in using this surgical procedure for the treatment of patients with refractory IIH.


The authors conducted a retrospective review of 10 consecutive patients who underwent ICE for the treatment of IIH during a 5-year period. Preoperative and postoperative clinical parameters including patient symptoms, presence of papilledema, and available ICP or CSF opening pressures were compared. Procedural details and complications were noted. Intracranial volume increases were calculated using available pre- and postoperative CT scans.


Follow-up for the 10 patients in this series ranged from 1 to 39.6 months (mean 15.5 months). Technically successful ICE was performed in all patients within the cohort. Surgical complications included a single postoperative seizure in one patient and a sagittal sinus tear with no clinical sequelae in another patient. At the time of last follow-up, 7 (70%) of 10 patients were either symptomatically improved or asymptomatic. Six (67%) of 9 patients with preoperative headaches had reduction or resolution of this symptom, and all patients (4 of 4) with preoperative papilledema had a reduction in or complete resolution of this sign. Postoperative ICP or CSF opening pressures were normal in all patients (4 of 4) tested. Postoperative intracranial volume expansion ranged between 3.8% and 12%.


Internal cranial expansion is a safe and effective surgery for the treatment of patients with refractory IIH. This surgery expands the intracranial volume and thus promotes ICP normalization, which may lead to the reduction or complete resolution of the signs and symptoms of IIH. Internal cranial expansion may be used as part of a multidisciplinary management approach in the treatment of refractory IIH.

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Theodore H. Schwartz, Brian Ho, Charles J. Prestigiacomo, Jeffrey N. Bruce, Neil A. Feldstein and Robert R. Goodman

Object. Ventricular size often shows no obvious change following third ventriculostomy, particularly in the early postoperative period, making postoperative evaluation difficult without expensive and often invasive testing in patients with equivocal clinical responses. The authors hypothesized that performing careful volumetric measurements would show decreases in size within the first 3 weeks after surgery.

Methods. Volumetric measurements were calculated from standard 3 × 3—mm axial computerized tomography (CT) scans obtained immediately before and 3 and 21 days after surgery. Two independent investigators measured third ventricular volume in a series of 16 patients and lateral ventricular volume in 10 of the patients undergoing stereotactically guided endoscopic third ventriculostomy for noncommunicating hydrocephalus.

Fifteen patients were symptomatically improved at the time the follow-up scan was obtained. Third ventricular volume decreased in all patients by a mean of 35% (range 7.8–95.1%) and lateral ventricular volume decreased in all patients by a mean of 33% (range 4.5–80.3%). The degree of change correlated with the length of preoperative symptoms (p <0.005). The one patient who experienced no improvement showed no decrease in third ventricular volume. In seven of 10 patients, the decrease in third ventricular volume exceeded the decrease in lateral ventricular volume. Repeated measurements indicated that the 95% confidence interval for the authors' calculations varied around the mean by 2.5% for third ventricular volume and 1.2% for lateral ventricular volume. Long-term outcome was excellent, with only one case of delayed failure. The mean follow-up duration was 12 months.

Conclusions. Volumetric measurements calculated from standard CT scans will show a demonstrable decrease in ventricular volume soon after successful third ventriculostomy and can be helpful in assessing patients postoperatively. Although the third ventricle may exhibit a greater decrease, the lateral ventricular measurements are more accurate. Patients with more indolent symptoms show the smallest change.