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Michael G. Hart, Nicholas J. Sarkies, Thomas Santarius and Ramez W. Kirollos

Object

Descriptions of visual dysfunction in pineal gland tumors tend to focus on upward gaze palsy alone. The authors aimed to characterize the nature, incidence, and functional significance of ophthalmological dysfunction after resection of tumors based on the pineal gland.

Methods

Review of a retrospective case series was performed and included consecutive patients who underwent surgery performed by a consultant neurosurgeon between 2002 and 2011. Only tumors specifically based on the pineal gland were included; tumors encroaching on the pineal gland from other regions were excluded. All patients with visual signs and/or symptoms were reviewed by a specialist consultant neuroophthalmologist to accurately characterize the nature of their deficits. Visual disturbance was defined as visual symptoms caused by a disturbance of ocular motility.

Results

A total of 20 patients underwent resection of pineal gland tumors. Complete resection was obtained in 85%, and there were no perioperative deaths. Visual disturbance was present in 35% at presentation; of those who had normal ocular motility preoperatively 82% had normal motility postoperatively. In total, 55% of patients had residual visual disturbance postoperatively. Although upward gaze tended to improve, significant functional deficits remained, particularly with regard to complex convergence and accommodation dysfunction. Prisms were used in 25% but were only ever partially effective. Visual outcome was only related to preoperative visual status and tumor volume (multivariate analysis).

Conclusions

Long-term visual morbidity after pineal gland tumor resection is common and leads to significant functional impairment. Improvement in deficits rarely occurs spontaneously, and prisms only have limited effectiveness, probably due to the dynamic nature of supranuclear ocular movement coordination.

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Aswin Chari, Angelos G. Kolias, Thomas Santarius, Simon Bond and Peter J. Hutchinson

Object

The incidence of chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH) is expected to increase substantially over the next 25 years. Continuing refinement of techniques for surgical evacuation is essential for optimizing patient outcomes. A novel technique involving a hollow screw, which is threaded through a twist-drill hole in the cranium and then connected to a closed drainage system, has been increasing in popularity. The aim of this systematic review is to collate and analyze the published experience with this novel technique and to evaluate its efficacy in comparison with the other surgical treatment methods.

Methods

This systematic review was conducted according to the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines and has been registered with the PROSPERO International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (registration number CRD42013003544). MEDLINE, Web of Knowledge, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews were searched for published series involving more than 10 patients treated with these new techniques.

Results

Nine eligible studies were found (6 case series and 3 case-control studies) comprising 796 patients treated with these new techniques. Pooled analysis showed a “success rate” of 77.6% (95% CI 74.6%–80.4%), recurrence rate of 22.4%, and in-hospital mortality of 1.4%.

Conclusions

This systematic review adds further evidence to the pool of data assessing the safety and efficacy of the use of this novel, minimally invasive technique for the treatment for CSDH. Overall, twist-drill craniostomy with hollow screws appears to be safe and effective. Class I evidence is necessary to optimize the surgical management of patients with CSDH.

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Alexis J. Joannides, Thomas Santarius, Helen M. Fernandes, Rodney J. C. Laing and Rikin A. Trivedi

Local anesthesia is widely used, in isolation or in conjunction with general anesthesia. The authors describe 2 adolescent patients presenting with absent brainstem reflexes and delayed awakening following elective foramen magnum decompression for Chiari Type I malformation. In both cases, neurological deficits were closely associated with the administration of a levobupivacaine field block following wound closure. In the absence of any structural or biochemical abnormalities, and with spontaneous recovery approximating the anesthetic half-life, the authors' observations are consistent with transient brainstem paralysis caused by perioperative local anesthetic infiltration.

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Thomas Santarius, Srikanth Dakoji, Fardad T. Afshari, Frances L. Raymond, Helen V. Firth, Helen M. Fernandes and Matthew R. Garnett

The authors report a case of an isolated schwannoma of left hypoglossal nerve in a 9-year-old girl. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first case report of hypoglossal nerve schwannoma in the pediatric population in the absence of neurofibromatosis Type 2.

The patient presented with a 2-month history of morning nausea and vomiting with occasional daytime headaches. Magnetic resonance imaging and subsequent CT scanning revealed a dumbbell tumor with a belly in the lower third of the posterior fossa and head underneath the left jugular foramen. Its neck protruded through an expanded hypoglossal canal. Although the lesion bore radiological characteristics of a hypoglossal schwannoma, the absence of hypoglossal palsy and the apparent lack of such tumors in the pediatric population the preoperative diagnosis was not certain.

The tumor was approached via a midline suboccipital craniotomy, and gross-total resection was achieved. Pathological examination confirmed the diagnosis of schwannoma. Blood and tumor tests for mutations in the NF2 gene were negative. Postoperative mild hypoglossal palsy recovered by the 3-month follow-up, and an MRI study obtained at 1 year did not show recurrence.