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Satoru Shimizu, Satoshi Utsuki, Sachio Suzuki, Hidehiro Oka, and Kiyotaka Fujii

✓Although the Codman-Hakim programmable valve is popular, several problems arising from its design have been described. The authors report an additional cause of shunt obstruction in the system. A 6-year-old girl who had received a ventriculoperitoneal shunt with the Codman-Hakim programmable valve system presented with worsening consciousness. The valve proved hard to flush, and emergency revision of the valve was performed. Examination of the extracted valve revealed that the pressure control cam had migrated into the outlet of the valve, thus causing the obstruction. A crack in the plastic housing surrounding the cam suggesting a past impact to the system was also revealed. These factors should thus be kept in mind as potential sources of obstruction of the valve system, especially in patients susceptible to episodes of head impact.

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Satoshi Utsuki, Hidehiro Oka, Kimitoshi Sato, Satoru Shimizu, Sachio Suzuki, and Kiyotaka Fujii

Peritumoral hemangioblastoma cysts are usually composed of fibrous tissue without tumor cells. The authors describe the first case in which fluorescence with 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) was used to diagnose a hemangioblastoma tumor in a peritumoral cyst wall. A 27-year-old woman with a homogeneous, enhanced nodular lesion in the right hemisphere of the cerebellum underwent surgical treatment. After the nodular lesion was removed, the cyst region was observed with the aid of a semiconductor laser with a peak wavelength of 405 ± 1 nm, which was powered using a fiberoptic cable. The cyst region was visualized with strong fluorescence, which disappeared after tissue removal. The fluorescent cyst consisted of tumor cells. The authors conclude that fluorescence diagnosis performed using 5-ALA can inform the choice of removing hemangioblastoma cysts.

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Satoshi Utsuki, Hidehiro Oka, Sumito Sato, Sachio Suzuki, Satoru Shimizu, Satoshi Tanaka, and Kiyotaka Fujii

✓The response of nonfluorescing infiltrating tumors that had been exposed to 5–aminolevulinic acid and irradiated using a laser at a wavelength of 405 nm was analyzed intraoperatively using spectroscopy. Histological analyses demonstrated that neoplastic cells were present in the tissue region that displayed a peak at 636 nm, whereas no neoplastic cells were present in the region that exhibited only the excitation light peak. The authors conclude that the intraoperative use of laser spectroscopy can allow the diagnosis of infiltrating tumor and the detection of boundaries of the infiltrate when standard fluorescence techniques fail.

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Satoshi Utsuki, Hidehiro Oka, Takao Sagiuchi, Satoru Shimizu, Sachio Suzuki, and Kiyotaka Fujii

✓ The recurrence of intracranial mature teratomas as germ cell tumors of different histological types is rarely reported. The authors describe the first case of the malignant transformation of an intracranial mature teratoma into a yolk sac tumor in a 16-year-old boy who presented with a 1-month history of anorexia and somnolence. Seven years prior to this presentation, the boy had undergone surgery for extirpation of a mature pineal teratoma. Computed tomography images obtained at his second presentation revealed a homogeneously enhanced mass within the third ventricle. The tumor was resected and the results of a histological examination were consistent with a yolk sac tumor. After resection, the patient underwent radiation therapy followed by chemotherapy with cisplatin and etoposide but died of tumor progression 15 months after his second hospitalization.

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Kimitoshi Sato, Satoru Shimizu, Satoshi Utsuki, Sachio Suzuki, Hidehiro Oka, and Kiyotaka Fujii

✓ Although the Codman Hakim programmable valve (CHPV) system is popular, several problems arising from its design have been described. The authors report an additional cause of shunt failure associated with the use of the CHPV system. A 7-year-old girl who had previously undergone placement of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt with the CHPV system was admitted in a comatose state. Radiography did not demonstrate any breakage or change in the opening pressure of the valve. Manual pumping of the valve resulted in neurological improvement and shrinkage of the girl’s ventricles. However, ventriculomegaly was again observed several hours later, and an emergency valve revision was performed.

The manufacturer’s examination of the extracted valve revealed a crack on the surface of the hard plastic housing covering the valve chamber, which appeared to be suggestive of some type of blunt trauma. In addition, the flat spring that transmitted resistance from the pressure control cam to the valve ball was deformed in such a manner that it caused excessive pressure against the valve ball. Because of this deformity, the actual opening pressure in this patient had reached a maximum level of 226 mm H2O instead of the adjusted pressure of 60 mm H2O. In patients with the CHPV system whose medical history is difficult to ascertain, the possibility of damage to the valve spring and the need for a prompt revision surgery should be considered. The authors conclude that placement of the CHPV system may be contraindicated in patients with a known habit of head banging.

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Akira Kurata, Hidehiro Oka, Taketomo Ohmomo, Hitoshi Ozawa, Sachio Suzuki, Kiyotaka Fujii, Shinichi Kan, Yoshio Miyasaka, and Harue Arai

✓ This 44-year-old man with Ehlers—Danlos syndrome (EDS) Type IV presented with hemiparesis and the Gerstmann syndrome. Left carotid artery (CA) angiography revealed a dissecting aneurysm with severe stenosis located in the common CA; the lesion was successfully treated with a stent graft. The patient's clinical course after endovascular surgery was uneventful, without occurrence of megacolon. The literature for spontaneous CA dissection in EDS Type IV cases is reviewed and points for investigation and treatment are discussed.

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Sachio Suzuki, Akira Kurata, Taketomo Ohmomo, Takao Sagiuchi, Jun Niki, Masaru Yamada, Hidehiro Oka, Kiyotaka Fujii, and Shinichi Kan

✓Application of endovascular surgery for very small aneurysms is controversial because of technical difficulties and high complication rates. The aim in the present study was to assess treatment results in a series of such lesions at one institution.

Since 1997, endovascular surgery has been advocated for very small ruptured aneurysms (<3 mm in maximum diameter) that fulfill the criterion of a fundus/neck ratio greater than 1.5. Twenty-one patients were treated, for whom the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies classification before treatment was Grade I in 10, Grade II in two, Grade III in two, Grade IV in five, and Grade V in two. The aneurysm location was the internal carotid artery in four, the anterior communicating artery in 11, the middle cerebral artery in one, and the vertebrobasilar system in five. In all patients, endovascular surgery was performed using Guglielmi detachable coils after induction of general anesthesia. Initially, the presumed volume of the lesions was calculated for each aneurysm. Thereafter, the appropriate coil length was decided according to the volume embolization ratio, as 30 to 40%. In all attempts to obliterate aneurysms a single coil was used.

All aneurysms were completely obliterated as confirmed by postembolization angiography, without procedure-related complications. During the follow-up period only one patient needed additional coil embolization for a growing aneurysm. Final outcomes were good recovery in 15 patients, moderate disability in five, and severe disability in one.

Appropriate selection of patients and coils, and use of sophisticated techniques allow a good outcome for patients with very small aneurysms.

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Akira Kurata, Sachio Suzuki, Kazuhisa Iwamoto, Kuniaki Nakahara, Madoka Inukai, June Niki, Kimitoshi Satou, Masaru Yamada, Kiyotaka Fujii, Shinichi Kan, and Toshiro Katsuta


The transvenous approach via the inferior petrosal sinus (IPS) is commonly used as the most appropriate for carotid-cavernous fistula (CCF) or cavernous sinus sampling. However, sometimes the IPS is not accessible because of anatomical problems and/or complications, therefore an alternative route is needed. In this paper, the authors present and discuss the utility of a transvenous approach to the cavernous sinus via the inferior petrooccipital vein.


Four patients, 3 with dural CCFs and the other with Cushing disease, in whom endovascular surgical attempts failed using a conventional venous approach via the IPS, underwent a transvenous approach to the cavernous sinus via the inferior petrooccipital vein (IPOV). One dural CCF case had only cortical venous drainage, the second CCF also mainly drained into the cortical vein with slight inflow into the superior ophthalmic vein and inferior ophthalmic vein, and the third demonstrated drainage into the superior and inferior ophthalmic veins and IPOV.


In all cases, the cavernous sinus could be accessed successfully via this route and without complications.


The transvenous approach to the cavernous sinus via the IPOV should be considered as an alternative in cases when use of the IPS is precluded by an anatomical problem and there are no other suitable venous approach routes.