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Dorsal variant blister aneurysm repair

William T. Couldwell and Roukoz Chamoun

Dorsal variant proximal carotid blister aneurysms are treacherous lesions to manage. It is important to recognize this variant on preoperative angiographic imaging, in anticipation of surgical strategies for their treatment. Strategies include trapping the involved segment and revascularization if necessary. Other options include repair of the aneurysm rupture site directly. Given that these are not true berry aneurysms, repair of the rupture site involves wrapping or clip-grafting techniques. The case presented here was a young woman with a subarachnoid hemorrhage from a ruptured dorsal variant blister aneurysm. The technique used is demonstrated in the video and is a modified clip-wrap technique using woven polyester graft material. The patient was given aspirin preoperatively as preparation for the clip-wrap technique.

It is the authors' current protocol to attempt a direct repair with clip-wrapping and leaving artery sacrifice with or without bypass as a salvage therapy if direct repair is not possible. Assessment of vessel patency after repair is performed by intraoperative Doppler and indocyanine green angiography. Intraoperative somatosensory and motor evoked potential monitoring is performed in all cases.

The video can be found here:

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Transcortical–transforaminal microscopic approach for purely intraventricular craniopharyngioma

Roukoz Chamoun and William T. Couldwell

Purely intraventricular craniopharyngiomas are rare and pose particular surgical challenges. The two main surgical approaches to these lesions based in the anterior third ventricle are the frontal transventricular approach (through a transcortical or transcallosal approach) and the trans–lamina terminalis approach. The authors note that the pituitary stalk in many of these cases is located in a normal position, which suggests that the third ventricular floor is intact. In such cases, the senior author chooses an approach to avoid disruption of the floor of the third ventricle. Specifically, a traditional frontotemporal approach is not used; we have found that in such cases, a frontal transventricular approach through the usually dilated foramen of Monro provides an optimal visualization of the tumor while minimizing the risks of injury to the hypothalamus and pituitary stalk. The endoscope can be very helpful in exploring blind angles, hidden from the microscopic view. Recognition of this rare location variant of craniopharyngioma is helpful in preoperative planning in an effort to reduce hypothalamic pituitary axis damage. Two patients presenting with craniopharyngiomas that were entirely intraventricular are shown in the video. The patients underwent removal of their tumors without incurring new long-term endocrine deficits.

The video can be found here: .

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Neuronavigation applied to epilepsy monitoring with subdural electrodes

Technical Note

Roukoz B. Chamoun, Vikram V. Nayar, and Daniel Yoshor

Accurate localization of the epileptogenic zone is of paramount importance in epilepsy surgery. Despite the availability of noninvasive structural and functional neuroimaging techniques, invasive monitoring with subdural electrodes is still often indicated in the management of intractable epilepsy. Neuronavigation is widely used to enhance the accuracy of subdural grid placement. It allows accurate implantation of the subdural electrodes based on hypotheses formed as a result of the presurgical workup, and can serve as a helpful tool for resection of the epileptic focus at the time of grid explantation. The authors describe 2 additional simple and practical techniques that extend the usefulness of neuronavigation in patients with epilepsy undergoing monitoring with subdural electrodes. One technique involves using the neuronavigation workstation to merge preimplantation MR images with a postimplantation CT scan to create useful images for accurate localization of electrode locations after implantation. A second technique involves 4 holes drilled at the margins of the craniotomy at the time of grid implantation; these are used as fiducial markers to realign the navigation system to the original registration and allow navigation with the merged image sets at the time of reoperation for grid removal and resection of the epileptic focus. These techniques use widely available commercial navigation systems and do not require additional devices, software, or computer skills. The pitfalls and advantages of these techniques compared to alternatives are discussed.

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Neuroendoscopic fenestration of glioependymal cysts to the ventricle: report of 3 cases

Anthony M. Alvarado, Kyle A. Smith, and Roukoz B. Chamoun

Glioependymal cysts are rare congenital lesions of the central nervous system. Reported surgical treatments of these lesions have varied and yielded mixed results, and the optimal surgical strategy is still controversial. The authors here report the clinical and surgical outcomes for three adult patients successfully treated with neuroendoscopic fenestration into the ventricular system. The patients had presented with symptomatic glioependymal cysts in the period from 2013 to 2016 at the authors’ institution. All underwent minimally invasive neuroendoscopic fenestration of the glioependymal cyst into the lateral ventricle via a stereotactically guided burr hole. Presenting clinical and radiological findings, operative courses, and postintervention outcomes were evaluated.

All three patients initially presented with symptoms related to regional mass effect of the underlying glioependymal cyst, including headaches, visual disturbances, and hemiparesis. All patients were successfully treated with endoscopic fenestration of the cyst wall into the lateral ventricle, where the wall was thinnest. Postoperatively, all patients reported improvement in their presenting symptoms, and neuroimaging demonstrated decompression of the cyst. Clinical follow-up ranged from 4 months to 5 years without evidence of reexpansion of the cyst or shunt requirement.

Compared to open resection and shunting of the cyst contents, minimally invasive endoscopic fenestration of a glioependymal cyst into the ventricular system is a safe and effective surgical option. This approach is practical, is less invasive than open resection, and appears to provide a long-term solution.

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Incidental pituitary adenomas

Walavan Sivakumar, Roukoz Chamoun, Vinh Nguyen, William T. Couldwell, and Ph.D.


Pituitary incidentalomas are a common finding with a poorly understood natural history. Over the last few decades, numerous studies have sought to decipher the optimal evaluation and treatment of these lesions. This paper aims to elucidate the current evidence regarding their prevalence, natural history, evaluation, and management.


A search of articles on PubMed (National Library of Medicine) and reference lists of all relevant articles was conducted to identify all studies pertaining to the incidence, natural history, workup, treatment, and follow-up of incidental pituitary and sellar lesions, nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas, and incidentalomas.


The reported prevalence of pituitary incidentalomas has increased significantly in recent years. A complete history, physical, and endocrinological workup with formal visual field testing in the event of optic apparatus involvement constitutes the basics of the initial evaluation. Although data regarding the natural history of pituitary incidentalomas remain sparse, they seem to suggest that progression to pituitary apoplexy (0.6/100 patient-years), visual field deficits (0.6/100 patient-years), and endocrine dysfunction (0.8/100 patient-years) remains low. In larger lesions, apoplexy risk may be higher.


While the majority of pituitary incidentalomas can be managed conservatively, involvement of the optic apparatus, endocrine dysfunction, ophthalmological symptoms, and progressive increase in size represent the main indications for surgery.

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Incidental meningiomas

Roukoz Chamoun, Khaled M. Krisht, and William T. Couldwell

With the increasing availability and use of modern brain diagnostic imaging modalities, discovery of incidental meningiomas has become fairly common. This creates a dilemma among neurosurgeons as to whether these lesions should be treated. Numerous natural history studies have been published in an effort to shed light on the potential for growth of incidental meningiomas. The available data appear to suggest that these tumors can fall into 1 of 3 main growth patterns: no growth, linear growth, or exponential growth. The therapeutic strategy selected should also consider several other factors, mainly the risk of complications from an eventual surgery, the possibility of malignancies and other pathological conditions that mimic meningiomas, and the age and medical condition of the patient. The authors believe that most asymptomatic incidental meningiomas can be observed using serial imaging and clinical follow-up evaluations. Surgical interventions are typically reserved for large, symptomatic lesions and those with documented potential for significant growth.

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Surgical approaches for resection of vestibular schwannomas: translabyrinthine, retrosigmoid, and middle fossa approaches

Roukoz Chamoun, Joel MacDonald, Clough Shelton, and William T. Couldwell

Surgical removal remains one of the key treatment modalities for vestibular schwannomas. A team approach between a neurotologist and a neurosurgeon offers the patient the expertise of both specialties and maximizes the chances for an optimal outcome. Vestibular schwannomas can typically be resected through 1 of 3 main surgical approaches: the translabyrinthine, the retrosigmoid, or the middle fossa approaches. In this report and videos, the authors describe and illustrate the indications and surgical techniques for the removal of these tumors.

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Outcome in patients with blunt head trauma and a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 3 at presentation

Clinical article

Roukoz B. Chamoun, Claudia S. Robertson, and Shankar P. Gopinath


A Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of 3 on presentation in patients with severe traumatic brain injury due to blunt trauma has been recognized as a bad prognostic factor. The reported mortality rate in these patients is very high, even approaching 100% in the presence of fixed and dilated pupils in some series. Consequently, there is often a tendency to treat these patients less aggressively because of the low expectations for a good recovery. In this paper, the authors' purpose is to report their experience in the management of this patient population, analyzing the mortality rate, prognostic factors, and functional outcome of survivors.


The authors performed a retrospective review of patients who presented between 1997 and 2007 with blunt head trauma and a GCS score of 3. Demographics, mechanism of injury, examination, blood alcohol level, associated injury, intracranial pressure (ICP), surgical procedures, and outcome were all recorded.


A total of 189 patients met the inclusion criteria and were included in this study. The overall mortality rate was 49.2%. At the 6-month follow-up, 13.2% of the entire series achieved a good functional outcome (Glasgow Outcome Scale [GOS] score of 1 or 2).

The patient population was then divided into 2 groups: Group 1 (patients who survived [96]) and Group 2 (patients who died [93]). Patients in Group 1 were younger (mean 33.3 ± 12.8 vs 40.3 ± 16.97 years; p = 0.002) and had lower ICP on admission (mean 16.3 ± 11.1 vs 25.7 ± 12.7 mm Hg; p < 0.001) than those in Group 2. The difference between the 2 groups regarding sex, mechanism of injury, hypotension on admission, alcohol, surgery, and associated injuries was not statistically significant.

The presence of bilateral fixed, dilated pupils was found to be associated with the highest mortality rate (79.7%). Although not statistically significant because of the sample size, pupil status was also a good predictor of the functional outcome at the 6-month follow-up; a good functional outcome (GOS Score 1 or 2) was achieved in 25.5% of patients presenting with bilateral reactive pupils, and 27.6% of patients presenting with a unilateral fixed, dilated pupil, compared with 7.5% for those presenting with bilateral fixed, nondilated pupils, and 1.4% for patients with bilateral fixed, dilated pupils.


Overall, 50.8% of patients survived their injury and 13.2% achieved a good functional outcome after at 6 months of follow-up (GOS Score 1 or 2). Age, ICP on admission, and pupil status were found to be significant predictive factors of outcome. In particular, pupil size and reactivity appeared to be the most important prognostic factor since the mortality rate was 23.5% in the presence of bilateral reactive pupils and 79.7% in the case of bilateral fixed, dilated pupils. The authors believe that patients having suffered traumatic brain injury and present with a GCS score of 3 should still be treated aggressively initially since a good functional outcome can be obtained in some cases.

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Extracranial traumatic carotid artery dissections in children: a review of current diagnosis and treatment options

Roukoz B. Chamoun, Michel E. Mawad, William E. Whitehead, Thomas G. Luerssen, and Andrew Jea


Currently, no diagnostic or treatment standards exist for extracranial carotid artery dissection (CAD) in children after trauma. The purpose of this study was to review and describe the characteristics, diagnosis, and treatment of this rather uncommon sequelae of pediatric trauma.


A systematic review of the literature was performed to examine the pertinent studies of traumatic extracranial carotid artery (CA) injuries in children.


No randomized trials were identified; however, 19 case reports or small case series consisting of 34 pediatric patients were found in the literature. The diagnosis of CAD was made in 33 of 34 patients only after the onset of ischemic symptomatology. Twenty-four of 34 patients underwent cerebral angiography to confirm diagnosis; MR angiography affirmed the diagnosis in 6 of 34 patients. There was little published experience with CA ultrasonography or CT angiography for diagnosis. Thirty of 34 patients were treated with medical therapy or observation; 2 of 4 patients treated with observation alone died. There was little experience with open surgical treatment of CAD in the pediatric population, and there were no studies on the endovascular treatment of traumatic CAD in children. The literature does not support anticoagulation therapy over antiplatelet therapy.


As a result of this review of the literature, the authors propose the algorithms for the evaluation and treatment of traumatic extracranial CADs in children. These recommendations include utilizing MR angiography as a screening tool in cases in which the clinical suspicion of CAD is high, using conventional cerebral angiography to confirm the diagnosis, implementing antiplatelet therapy as initial medical management, and reserving endovascular stenting in cases of failed medical treatment.

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Extracranial traumatic carotid artery dissections in children

Robert H. Rosenwasser