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Yun Bao, Jun Pan, Song-tao Qi, Yun-tao Lu and Jun-xiang Peng


Craniopharyngiomas are associated with a high rate of recurrence. The surgical management of recurrent lesions has been among the most challenging neurosurgical procedures because of the craniopharyngioma's complex topographical relationship with surrounding structures. The aim of this study was to define the determinative role of the site of origin on the growth pattern and clinical features of recurrent craniopharyngiomas.


The authors performed a retrospective analysis of 52 patients who had undergone uniform treatment by a single surgeon. For each patient, data concerning symptoms and signs, imaging features, hypothalamic-pituitary function, and recurrence-free survival rate were collected.


For children, delayed puberty was more frequent in the group with Type I (infradiaphragmatic) craniopharyngioma than in the group with Type TS (tuberoinfundibular and suprasellar extraventricular) lesions (p < 0.05). For adults, blindness was more frequent in the Type I group than in the Type TS group (p < 0.05). Nausea or vomiting, delayed puberty, and growth retardation were more frequent in children than in adults (p < 0.05). Overall clinical outcome was good in 48.07% of the patients and poor in 51.92%. Patients with Type TS recurrent tumors had significantly worse functional outcomes and hypothalamic function than patients with the Type I recurrent tumors but better pituitary function especially in children.


The origin of recurrent craniopharyngiomas significantly affected the symptoms, signs, functional outcomes, and hypothalamic-pituitary functions of patients undergoing repeated surgery. Differences in tumor growth patterns and site of origin should be considered when one is comparing outcomes and survival across treatment paradigms in patients with recurrent craniopharyngiomas.

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Yun-Tao Lu, Song-Tao Qi, Jia-Ming Xu, Jun Pan and Jin Shi


This study aimed to identify the membranous septation between the adeno- and neurohypophysis. The clinical impact of this septation in the surgical removal of infradiaphragmatic craniopharyngioma (Id-CP) is also clarified.


The sellar regions from 8 fetal and 6 adult cadavers were dissected. After staining first with H & E and then with picro-Sirius red, the membranous structures were observed and measured under normal light and polarization microscopy. The pre- and postsurgical images and intraoperative procedures in 28 cases of childhood Id-CP were reviewed and analyzed.


There is a significant membranous septation (termed the adenoneurohypophysis septation [ANHS]) lying behind the intermediate lobe to separate the adeno- and neurohypophysis. The average thicknesses are 21.9 ± 16.9 μm and 79.1 ± 43.2 μm in fetal and adult heads, respectively. The median segment of the septation is significantly thicker than the upper and lower segments. The ANHS extends from the suprasellar pars tuberalis to the sellar floor, where it is fused with the pituitary capsule. During Id-CP surgery performed via a transcranial approach, the ANHS can be identified to reserve the neurohypophysis. Moreover, by understanding the anatomy of this membrane, the pituitary stalk was preserved in 3 patients (10.7%).


There is a significant membrane separating the anterior and posterior lobes of the pituitary gland, which lies behind the intermediate lobe. Understanding the anatomy of this septation is important for identifying and preserving the neurohypophysis and pituitary stalk during Id-CP surgery.

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Song-tao Qi, Yi Liu, Jun Pan, Silky Chotai and Lu-xiong Fang


The completeness of meningioma resection depends on the resection of dura mater invaded by the tumor. The pathological changes of the dura around the tumor can be interpreted by evaluating the dural tail sign (DTS) on MRI studies. The goal of this study was to clarify the pathological characteristics of the DTSs, propose a classification based on the histopathological and radiological correlation, and identify the invasive range of tumor cells in different types of DTS.


The authors retrospectively reviewed 179 patients with convexity meningiomas who underwent Simpson Grade I resection. All patients underwent an enhanced MRI examination preoperatively. The convexity meningiomas were dichotomized into various subtypes in accordance with the 2007 WHO classification of tumors of the CNS, and the DTS was identified based on the Goldsher criteria. The range of resection of the involved dura was 3 cm from the base of the tumor, which corresponded with the length of DTS on MRI studies. Histopathological examination of dura at 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0 cm from the base of the tumor was conducted, and the findings were correlated with the preoperative MRI appearance of the DTS.


A total of 154 (86%) of 179 convexity meningiomas were classified into WHO Grade I subtype, including transitional (44 [28.6%] of 154), meningothelial (36 [23.4%] of 154), fibrous (23 [14.9%] of 154), psammomatous (22 [14.3%] of 154), secretory (10 [6.5%] of 154), and angiomatous (19 [12.3%] of 154). The other 25 (14%) were non–Grade I (WHO) tumors, including atypical (12 [48%] of 25), anaplastic (5 [20%] of 25), and papillary (8 [32%] of 25). The DTS was classified into 5 types: smooth (16 [8.9%] of 179), nodular (36 [20.1%] of 179), mixed (57 [31.8%] of 179), symmetrical multipolar (15 [8.4%] of 179), and asymmetrical multipolar (55 [30.7%] of 179). There was a significant difference in distribution of DTS type between Grade I and non–Grade I tumors (p = 0.004), whereas the difference was not significant among Grade I tumors (0.841) or among non–Grade I tumors (p = 0.818). All smooth-type DTSs were encountered in Grade I tumors, and the mixed DTS (52 [33.8%] of 154) was the most common type in these tumors. Nodular-type DTS was more commonly seen in non–Grade I tumors (12 [48%] of 25). Tumor invasion was found in 88.3% (158 of 179) of convexity meningiomas, of which the range of invasion in 82.3% (130 of 158) was within 2 cm and that in 94.9% (150 of 158) was within 2.5 cm. The incidence of invasion and the range invaded by tumor cells varied in different types of DTS, and differences were statistically significant (p < 0.001).


Nodular-type DTS on MRI studies might be associated with non–Grade I tumors. The range of dural resection for convexity meningiomas should be 2.5 cm from the tumor base, and if this extent of resection is not feasible, the type of DTS should be considered. However, for skull base meningiomas, in which mostly Simpson Grade II resection is achieved, the use of this classification should be further validated. The classification of DTS enables the surgeon to predict preoperatively and then to achieve the optimal range of dural resection that might significantly reduce the recurrence rate of meningiomas.

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Xiaolei Hao, Ruie Feng, Yalan Bi, Yuhan Liu, Chunde Li, Tao Lu and Yongji Tian

Erdheim-Chester disease (ECD) is a rare non–Langerhans cell form of histiocytosis that can affect the central nervous system. ECD predominantly affects adults, and only a few pediatric cases have been reported. The co-occurrence of ECD and Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) is exceedingly rare. An 11-year-old boy, who was diagnosed with LCH 7 years previously, presented with multiple giant intracranial lesions. At the time of his initial diagnosis, only one intracranial lesion was observed, and it began to enlarge. Currently, up to 7 intracranial lesions can be observed in this patient. However, the diagnosis of ECD was not confirmed until this most recent open resection. The BRAF V600E mutation was detected in both LCH and ECD lesions. Dabrafenib therapy exhibited dramatic efficacy in this pediatric patient. This case represents the first successful application of dabrafenib in a pediatric patient with intracranial ECD lesions as well as mixed ECD and LCH. In this article, the authors describe the intricate diagnosis and treatment processes in this patient. Recent studies regarding treatment with BRAF inhibitors for neurological involvement in mixed ECD and LCH are also reviewed.

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Tao-Chen Lee, Kang Lu, Lin-Cheng Yang, Hsuan-Ying Huang and Cheng-Loong Liang

Object. Because modern imaging techniques now allow for early diagnosis of spinal tuberculosis, more conservative management options are possible. The authors evaluated the effectiveness of transpedicular instrumentation for treatment of thoracolumbar and lumbar spinal tuberculosis in patients with mild bone destruction and the main symptom of “instability catch” (a sudden painful “snap” that occurs when one extends from a forward bent to an upright position).

Methods. Eighteen patients (nine men and nine women, age range 49–71 years) with spinal tuberculosis were treated with transpedicular instrumentation that was supplemented with posterolateral fusion and chemotherapy. All patients were wheelchair dependent or bed-ridden due to severe instability catch, with a mean symptom duration of 2.5 months (range 1–6 months). Two contiguous vertebrae were involved in 17 patients, and a single vertebrae was involved in one. In five patients mild neurological deficits (Frankel Grade D) were present. During surgery, the screws were implanted into the two nonaffected pedicles nearest the lesion to stabilize the involved segments. No attempt at radical debridement or neural decompression was undertaken. The follow-up period ranged from 21 to 40 months. Postoperatively the instability catch was relieved within 10 days (excellent outcome) and within 1 month (good outcome) in seven and eight patients, respectively, and within 3 months (fair outcome) in two; in the remaining patient, the symptom did not resolve (poor outcome). A short duration of symptoms (generally < 3 months) and bone destruction of less than 50% in the involved vertebral bodies were observed in patients who made a good or excellent outcome. During the follow-up period, good maintenance of spinal alignment, stabilization of the involved segment, and resolution of the inflammatory process were shown; however, there was no strong evidence that fusion had occurred at the bony defect. Patients in whom a fair outcome was achieved experienced a longer duration of symptoms, and in each, one vertebral body with greater than 50% bone destruction was demonstrated. However, good maintenance of spinal alignment was also shown during the follow-up period. The patient whose outcome was poor had the longest history (6 months) of symptoms and the most extensive involvement of the spine (> 50% destruction of two adjacent lumbar vertebral bodies). Postoperatively, implant failure occurred and the patient developed a wound infection.

Conclusions. Transpedicular instrumentation provides rapid relief of instability catch and prevents late angular deformity in patients with thoracolumbar and lumbar spinal tuberculosis in whom limited (< 50%) bone destruction of the involved vertebral bodies has been shown and whose main symptom is instability catch.

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Cheng-Loong Liang, Chun-Chung Lui, Kang Lu, Tao-Chen Lee and Han-Jung Chen

✓ The authors describe a patient with ossiculum terminale. Thin-section three-dimensional computerized tomography reconstructions, magnetic resonance images, and radiographs of the cervical spine were obtained to evaluate the atlantoaxial stability and structures of the ossiculum terminale. Bone had formed between the ossicles and the body of the odontoid process, and good atlantoaxial stability was clearly demonstrated.

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Cheng-Shyuan Rau, Cheng-Loong Liang, Chun-Chung Lui, Tao-Chen Lee and Kang Lu

✓ Quadriplegia is a well-known complication of posterior fossa surgery performed while the patient is in the sitting position but is rarely associated with the prone position. A case of an 18-year-old man with a cerebellar medulloblastoma is described. There was no evidence of previous cervical disease. The patient suffered quadriplegia after undergoing surgery in the prone position. Postoperative magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated a long hyperintense C2—T1 lesion on T2-weighted sequences. The authors speculate that, during the prolonged period in which the neck was in hyperflexion, overstretching of the cervical spinal cord and compromise of its blood supply might have caused this devastating complication.

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Cheng-shyuan Rau, Jui-wei Lin, Cheng-loong Liang, Tao-chen Lee, Han-jung Chen and Kang Lu

✓ An osteolytic meningioma in a 36-year-old woman was accompanied by elevated serum levels of human chorionic gonadotropin—β subunit (β-HCG), which returned to normal after removal of the tumor. Light microscopy examination demonstrated a transitional meningioma. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that the tumor cells had a positive reaction for β-HCG. This case illustrates the possibility that meningioma may be associated with clinically detectable secretion of β-HCG. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first case in which meningioma has been shown to secrete β-HCG. The authors believe that meningioma should be considered in the differential diagnosis of choriocarcinoma, embryonal cell tumor, germinoma, and metastatic ovarian tumor associated with elevated levels of β-HCG.

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Kang Lu, Cheng-Loong Liang, Tao-Chen Lee, Han-Jung Chen, Thung-Ming Su and Po-Chou Liliang

Object. Transthoracic endoscopic T-2 sympathectomy is currently the treatment of choice for palmar hyperhidrosis (PH). Intraoperative monitoring of palmar skin temperature (PST) is often used to assess the adequacy of sympathetic ablation. The aim of this study was to investigate the time course of PST changes during the operation and to determine factors involved in the sympathetic modulation of the palmar skin blood flow.

Methods. Eighty-one patients with PH underwent bilateral transthoracic endoscopic sympathectomy of T-2 in which continuous intraoperative PST monitoring was used. Palmar skin temperature data, recorded every 30 seconds throughout the operation, were plotted against time, and a graph of two PST curves was obtained in each case. A multiphasic curve pattern of great similarity was observed in nearly 70% of cases. Specific PST readings at different operative stages were collected and averaged for all cases. The trend of PST changes in response to different procedures during the operation was analyzed.

It was found that unilateral procedures caused simultaneous bilateral PST alterations. In almost all cases, bilateral PST was dramatically lowered when unilateral skin incision and intercostal muscle dissection were performed. The temperature remained low until the T-2 sympathectomy was finished on one side. In addition, unilateral T-2 sympathectomy induced synchronous elevation of bilateral PST. However, the ipsilateral response was significantly stronger than that on the contralateral side.

Conclusions. Although intraoperative monitoring of PST is a reliable guide for surgeons performing endoscopic transthoracic sympathectomy, it is important to realize that PST fluctuates at different stages during the operation and that surgical procedures themselves can significantly influence PST readings. The PST data recorded at specific time points, therefore, can be misleading in terms of accuracy and the completeness of ablation of the target sympathetic ganglia, especially when the sympathetic trunk or ganglia are anatomically aberrant.