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Victor A. Levin, William M. Wara, Richard L. Davis, Pamela Vestnys, Kenneth J. Resser, Kathleen Yatsko, Stephen Nutik, Philip H. Gutin and Charles B. Wilson

✓ The authors report the results of a randomized study conducted to evaluate the relative benefit of treatment with 1,3-bis(2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea (BCNU) or the combination of procarbazine, 1-(2-chloroethyl)-3-cyclohexyl-1-nitrosourea, and vincristine (PCV) administered after radiation therapy with hydroxyurea to 76 evaluable patients with glioblastoma multiforme and 72 patients with other anaplastic gliomas. The primary end-point of the study was time to tumor progression. For better-risk patients with Karnofsky performance scores of 70 to 100, results suggest that PCV was of greater benefit than BCNU (p = 0.15 for glioblastoma multiforme; p = 0.13 for other anaplastic gliomas). Median times to tumor progression were 31 and 32 weeks for patients with glioblastoma multiforme; 25th percentile times to progression were 70 and 40 weeks for patients treated with PCV and BCNU, respectively. For patients with other anaplastic gliomas treated with PCV and BCNU, median times to progression were 123 and 77 weeks, respectively. Multivariate analysis showed that the prognostic variables of age and Karnofsky scores were important for patients with glioblastoma multiforme and other anaplastic gliomas, and that the extent of surgical resection was important for those with other anaplastic gliomas.

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Stephen L. Nutik

✓ A series of 15 patients with 17 ventral paraclinoid carotid artery aneurysms is presented. With this type of aneurysm the neck is at or just distal to the level of the ophthalmic artery and proximal to the posterior communicating artery on the ventral surface of the carotid artery. There is a high incidence of female patients and multiple aneurysms. At surgery, the aneurysms are hidden by the anterior clinoid process and often have an intracavernous component. The neck of the aneurysm is usually intradural and can be clipped.

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Neil A. Martin, Wesley A. King, Charles B. Wilson, Stephen Nutik, L. Phillip Carter and Robert F. Spetzler

✓ Eight patients with dural arteriovenous malformations (AVM's) of the anterior cranial fossa are presented, and the pertinent literature is reviewed. Unlike cases of dural AVM's in other locations, sudden massive intracerebral hemorrhage was the most frequent reason for presentation. Other symptoms included tinnitus, retro-orbital headache, and a generalized seizure. The malformations were supplied consistently by the anterior ethmoidal artery, usually in combination with other less prominent feeding vessels. The lesion's venous drainage was through the superior sagittal sinus via a cortical vein; in addition, in two cases a subfrontal vein drained the AVM. A venous aneurysm was encountered near the site of anastomosis with the dural feeder in most cases, and was found in all patients who presented with hemorrhage. The AVM was obliterated surgically in six patients, with favorable results achieved in five. One patient died postoperatively from a pulmonary complication. Because of their anatomy and proclivity for hemorrhage, these vascular malformations represent a unique group of dural AVM's. Surgical management of anterior fossa dural AVM's carries low morbidity, and is indicated when the lesions have caused hemorrhage or when there is an associated venous aneurysm.

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Stephen L. Nutik

Object

The author describes a surgical procedure in which pterional craniotomy is performed via a transcavernous approach to treat low-lying distal basilar artery (BA) aneurysms. This intradural procedure is compared with the extradural procedure described by Dolenc, et al.

Methods

The addition of a transcavernous exposure to the standard pterional intradural transsylvian approach allows a lower exposure of the distal BA behind the dorsum sellae. The technical steps involved in this procedure are as follows: 1) removal of the anterior clinoid process; 2) entry into the cavernous sinus medial to the third nerve; 3) packing of the venous channels of the cavernous sinus lying between the carotid artery and the pituitary gland to open this space; 4) removal of the posterior clinoid process and the portion of the dorsum sellae that is exposed from within the cavernous sinus; and 5) removal of the exposed dura mater to obtain additional exposure of the perimesencephalic cistern. Eight cases of aneurysms of the distal BA are presented to illustrate how this approach can help in their surgical treatment.

Conclusions

Using the standard pterional approach, these distal BA aneurysms were found to be either too low relative to the posterior clinoid process for adequate exposure or there was insufficient room for temporary clipping of the BA proximal to the lesion. The addition of a transcavernous exposure eliminated these technical problems and aneurysm clipping could be accomplished in each case.

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Stephen L. Nutik

Object. The author describes a surgical procedure in which pterional craniotomy is performed via a transcavernous approach to treat low-lying distal basilar artery (BA) aneurysms. This intradural procedure is compared with the extradural procedure described by Dolenc, et al.

Methods. The addition of a transcavernous exposure to the standard pterional intradural transsylvian approach allows a lower exposure of the distal BA behind the dorsum sellae. The technical steps involved in this procedure are as follows: 1) removal of the anterior clinoid process: 2) entry into the cavernous sinus medial to the third nerve; 3) packing of the venous channels of the cavernous sinus lying between the carotid artery and the pituitary gland to open this space; 4) removal of the posterior clinoid process and the portion of the dorsum sellae that is exposed from within the cavernous sinus; and 5) removal of the exposed dura mater to obtain additional exposure of the perimesencephalic cistern. Eight cases of aneurysms of the distal BA are presented to illustrate how this approach can help in their surgical treatment.

Conclusions. Using the standard pterional approach, these distal BA aneurysms were found to be either too low relative to the posterior clinoid process for adequate exposure or there was insufficient room for temporary clipping of the BA proximal to the lesion. The addition of a transcavernous exposure eliminated these technical problems and aneurysm clipping could be accomplished in each case.

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Stephen L. Nutik and Michael J. Babb

Object. This study was undertaken to analyze factors associated with the size of unilateral vestibular schwannomas (VSs).

Methods. A retrospective analysis of an unselected and sequential series of 433 patients with unilateral VSs was conducted. Tumor size was defined by the largest dimension of the tumor in the cerebellopontine angle, and the size was tested for a relationship with patient age and sex. In a subgroup of 231 patients in whom data were available, tumor size was also tested for a relationship with tumor cysts or the absence of an internal auditory canal (IAC) component. Some patients underwent a period of surveillance with serial imaging studies to monitor for tumor growth. Data from these patients, excluding those with cystic tumors, were analyzed to see if tumor growth was related to patient age, sex, or tumor size.

Conclusions. Larger tumors were found in younger patients, in females, in the subgroup of cystic tumors, and in patients in whom there was no tumor component in the IAC. The probable explanations for these larger tumors are a faster growth rate and/or a delay in symptom onset. When untreated tumors are managed with observation, measurable growth is more often seen in larger tumors, although smaller tumors have a faster relative growth rate than larger ones.

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Stephen L. Nutik

Object. This study was undertaken to analyze the features that define subclinoid aneurysms.

Methods. Five cases of laterally directed carotid artery (CA) aneurysms adjacent to the anterior clinoid process (ACP) were identified in a series of approximately 1400 surgically treated aneurysms. These cases were selected because the aneurysms had the same features as the only previously described “subclinoid” aneurysm. The angiographic and anatomical features of the five cases were analyzed.

Conclusions. Subclinoid aneurysms are a unique group of congenital berry aneurysms. They originate from the lateral surface of the CA adjacent to the ACP. They are partially or completely hidden from view at surgery by the ACP and are partially or completely proximal to the distal dural ring of the CA. The proximal neck of these lesions is located at the same level of the CA cut perpendicular to its axis of blood flow as the origin of the ophthalmic artery (OphA), but they do not originate at that or any other branch of the CA. They can only be definitively differentiated from OphA, anterior paraclinoid, and blister-like aneurysms at surgery.