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Thomas K. Mattingly and Stephen P. Lownie

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Derrek Schartz, Thomas K. Mattingly, Redi Rahmani, Nathaniel Ellens, Sajal Medha K. Akkipeddi, Tarun Bhalla, and Matthew T. Bender


Microsurgery for cerebral aneurysms is called definitive, yet some patients undergo a craniotomy that results in noncurative treatment. Furthermore, the overall rate of noncurative microsurgery for cerebral aneurysms is unclear. The objective of this study was to complete a systematic review and meta-analysis to quantify three scenarios of noncurative treatment: aneurysm wrapping, postclipping remnants, and late regrowth of completely obliterated aneurysms.


A PRISMA-guided systematic literature review of the MEDLINE and Cochrane Library databases and meta-analysis was completed. Studies were included that detailed rates of aneurysm wrapping, residua confirmed with imaging, and regrowth after confirmed total occlusion. Pooled rates were subsequently calculated using a random-effects model. An assessment of statistical heterogeneity and publication bias among the included studies was also completed for each analysis, with resultant I2 values and p values determined with Egger’s test.


Sixty-four studies met the inclusion criteria for final analysis. In 41 studies, 573/15,715 aneurysms were wrapped, for a rate of 3.5% (95% CI 2.7%–4.2%, I2 = 88%). In 43 studies, 906/13,902 aneurysms had residual neck or dome filling, for a rate of 6.4% (95% CI 5.2%–7.6%, I2 = 93%). In 15 studies, 71/2568 originally fully occluded aneurysms showed regrowth, for a rate of 2.1% (95% CI 1.2%–3.1%, I2 = 58%). Together, there was a total rate of noncurative surgery of 12.0% (95% CI 11.5%–12.5%). Egger’s test suggested no significant publication bias among the studies. Meta-regression analysis revealed that the reported rate of aneurysm wrapping has significantly declined over time, whereas the rates of aneurysm residua and recurrence have not significantly changed.


Open microsurgery for cerebral aneurysm results in noncurative treatment approximately 12% of the time. This metric may be used to counsel patients and as a benchmark for other treatment modalities. This investigation is limited by the high degree of heterogeneity among the included studies.

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Thomas Mattingly, Max K. Kole, David Nicolle, Mel Boulton, David Pelz, and Stephen P. Lownie


The authors report their results in a series of large or giant carotid ophthalmic segment aneurysms clipped using retrograde suction decompression.


A retrospective review of clinical data and treatment summaries was performed for 18 patients with large or giant carotid artery ophthalmic segment aneurysms managed operatively via retrograde suction decompression. Visual outcomes, Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) scores, and operative complications were determined. Postoperative angiography was assessed.


During a 17-year period, 18 patients underwent surgery performed using retrograde suction decompression. The mean aneurysm size was 26 mm. Three patients presented with subarachnoid hemorrhage. Fourteen of 18 patients presented with visual symptoms. Eleven (79%) of these 14 patients experienced visual improvement and the remaining 3 (21%) experienced worsened vision after surgery. Of 3 patients without visual symptoms and a complete visual examination before and after surgery, 1 had visual worsening postoperatively. One aneurysm required trapping and bypass, and all others could be clipped. Postoperative angiography demonstrated complete occlusion in 9 of 17 clipped aneurysms and neck remnants in the other 8 clipped aneurysms. One (5.5%) of 18 patients experienced a stroke. Eighteen patients had a GOS score of 5 (good outcome), and 1 patient had a GOS score of 4 (moderately disabled). There were no deaths. There was no morbidity related to the second incision or decompression procedure. Prolonged improvement did occur, and even in some cases of visual worsening in 1 eye, the overall vision did improve enough to allow driving.


Retrograde suction decompression greatly facilitates surgical clipping for large and giant aneurysms of the ophthalmic segment. Visual preservation and improvement occur in the majority of these cases and is an important outcome measure. Developing endovascular technology must show equivalence or superiority to surgery for this specific outcome.

Open access

Thomas K. Mattingly, Pablo Lopez-Ojeda, Miguel Arango, Chris Harle, Nirmal Kakani, Peter Allen, Barbara Lehrbass, and Stephen P. Lownie


The authors present a case of selective hypothermia used for neuroprotection during clipping of a giant partially thrombosed middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysm. Although these cases have traditionally required deep hypothermic cardiac arrest, this case illustrates a novel and entirely endovascular solution that avoids cardiac standstill and whole-body cooling.


This is, to the authors’ knowledge, the first case in human surgery of a catheter-based selective hypothermic circuit used to facilitate MCA trapping for almost 30 minutes. Core temperatures never dropped below 34°C, and the patient recovered uneventfully and has been well for over 5 years.


The technical nuances and physiological changes unique to selective hypothermia are discussed.

Free access

Brendan Santyr, Mohamad Abbass, Alan Chalil, Amirti Vivekanandan, Daria Krivosheya, Lynn M. Denning, Thomas K. Mattingly, Faizal A. Haji, and Stephen P. Lownie


Simulation is increasingly recognized as an important supplement to operative training. The live rat femoral artery model is a well-established model for microsurgical skills simulation. In this study, the authors present an 11-year experience incorporating a comprehensive, longitudinal microsurgical training curriculum into a Canadian neurosurgery program. The first goal was to evaluate training effectiveness, using a well-studied rating scale with strong validity. The second goal was to assess the impact of the curriculum on objective measures of subsequent operating room performance during postgraduate year (PGY)–5 and PGY-6 training.


PGY-2 neurosurgery residents completed a 1-year curriculum spanning 17 training sessions divided into 5 modules of increasing fidelity. Both perfused duck wing and live rat vessel training models were used. Three modules comprised live microvascular anastomosis. Trainee performance was video recorded and blindly graded using the Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skills Global Rating Scale. Eleven participants who completed the training curriculum and 3 subjects who had not participated had their subsequent operative performances evaluated when they were at the PGY-5 and PGY-6 levels.


Eighteen participants completed 106 microvascular anastomoses during the study. There was significant improvement in 6 measurable skills during the curriculum. The mean overall score was significantly higher on the fifth attempt compared with the first attempt for all 3 live anastomotic modules (p < 0.001). Each module had a different improvement profile across the skills assessed. Those who completed the microvascular skills curriculum demonstrated a greater number of independent evaluations during superficial surgical exposure, deep exposure, and primary maneuvers at the PGY-5 and PGY-6 levels.


High-fidelity microsurgical simulation training leads to significant improvement in microneurosurgical skills. Transfer of acquired skills to the operative environment and durability for at least 3 to 4 years show encouraging preliminary results and are subject to ongoing investigation.