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Corentin Dauleac, Timothée Jacquesson and Patrick Mertens


The goal in this study was to describe the overall organization of the spinal arachnoid mater and spinal subarachnoid space (SSAS) as well as its relationship with surrounding structures, in order to highlight spinal cord arachnoid cisterns.


Fifteen spinal cords were extracted from embalmed adult cadavers. The organization of the spinal cord arachnoid and SSAS was described via macroscopic observations, optical microscopic views, and scanning electron microscope (SEM) studies. Gelatin injections were also performed to study separated dorsal subarachnoid compartments.


Compartmentalization of SSAS was studied on 3 levels of axial sections. On an axial section passing through the tips of the denticulate ligament anchored to the dura, 3 subarachnoid cisterns were observed: 2 dorsolateral and 1 ventral. On an axial section passing through dural exit/entrance of rootlets, 5 subarachnoid cisterns were observed: 2 dorsolateral, 2 lateral formed by dorsal and ventral rootlets, and 1 ventral. On an axial section passing between the two previous ones, only 1 subarachnoid cistern was observed around the spinal cord. This compartmentalization resulted in the anatomical description of 3 elements: the median dorsal septum, the arachnoid anchorage to the tip of the denticulate ligament, and the arachnoid anchorage to the dural exit/entrance of rootlets. The median dorsal septum already separated dorsal left and right subarachnoid spaces and was described from C1 level to 3 cm above the conus medullaris. This septum was anchored to the dorsal septal vein. No discontinuation was observed in the median dorsal arachnoid septum. At the entrance point of dorsal rootlets in the spinal cord, arachnoid trabeculations were described. Using the SEM, numerous arachnoid adhesions between the ventral surface of the dorsal rootlets and the pia mater over the spinal cord were observed. At the ventral part of the SSAS, no septum was found, but some arachnoid trabeculations between the arachnoid and the pia mater were present and more frequent than in the dorsal part. Laterally, arachnoid was firmly anchored to the denticulate ligaments’ fixation at dural points, and dural exit/entrance of rootlets made a fibrous ring of arachnoidodural adhesions. At the level of the cauda equina, the arachnoid mater surrounded all rootlets together—as a sac and not individually.


Arachnoid cisterns are organized on each side of a median dorsal septum and compartmentalized in relation with the attachments of denticulate ligament and exit/entrance of rootlets.

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Moncef Berhouma, M.Sc., Timothee Jacquesson, M.Sc., Lucie Abouaf, M.Sc., Alain Vighetto, Ph.D. and Emmanuel Jouanneau


While several approaches have been described for optic nerve decompression, the endoscopic endonasal route is gaining favor because it provides excellent exposure of the optic canal and the orbital apex in a minimally invasive manner. Very few studies have detailed the experience with nontraumatic optic nerve decompressions, whereas traumatic cases have been widely documented. Herein, the authors describe their preliminary experience with endoscopic endonasal decompression for nontraumatic optic neuropathies (NONs) to determine the procedure’s efficacy and delineate its potential indications and limits.


The medical reports of patients who had undergone endoscopic endonasal optic nerve and orbital apex decompression for NONs at the Lyon University Neurosurgical Hospital in the period from January 2012 to March 2014 were reviewed. For all cases, clinical and imaging data on the underlying pathology and the patient, including demographics, preoperative and 6-month postoperative ophthalmological assessment results, symptom duration, operative details with video debriefing, as well as the immediate and delayed postoperative course, were collected from the medical records.


Eleven patients underwent endoscopic endonasal decompression for NON in the multidisciplinary skull base surgery unit of the Lyon University Neurosurgical Hospital during the 27-month study period. The mean patient age was 53.4 years, and there was a clear female predominance (8 females and 3 males). Among the underlying pathologies were 4 sphenoorbital meningiomas (36%), 3 optic nerve meningiomas (27%), and 1 each of trigeminal neuroma (9%), orbital apex meningioma (9%), ossifying fibroma (9%), and inflammatory pseudotumor of the orbit (9%). Fifty-four percent of the patients had improved visual acuity at the 6-month follow-up. Only 1 patient whose sphenoorbital meningioma had been treated at the optic nerve atrophy stage continued to worsen despite surgical decompression. The 2 patients presenting with preoperative papilledema totally recovered. One case of postoperative epistaxis was successfully treated using balloon inflation, and 1 case of air swelling of the orbit spontaneously resolved.


Endoscopic endonasal optic nerve decompression is a safe, effective, and minimally invasive technique affording the restoration of visual function in patients with nontraumatic compressive processes of the orbital apex and optic nerve. The timing of decompression remains crucial, and patients should undergo such a procedure early in the disease course before optic atrophy.

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Timothee Jacquesson, Fang-Chang Yeh, Sandip Panesar, Jessica Barrios, Arnaud Attyé, Carole Frindel, Francois Cotton, Paul Gardner, Emmanuel Jouanneau and Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda


Diffusion imaging tractography has allowed the in vivo description of brain white matter. One of its applications is preoperative planning for brain tumor resection. Due to a limited spatial and angular resolution, it is difficult for fiber tracking to delineate fiber crossing areas and small-scale structures, in particular brainstem tracts and cranial nerves. New methods are being developed but these involve extensive multistep tractography pipelines including the patient-specific design of multiple regions of interest (ROIs). The authors propose a new practical full tractography method that could be implemented in routine presurgical planning for skull base surgery.


A Philips MRI machine provided diffusion-weighted and anatomical sequences for 2 healthy volunteers and 2 skull base tumor patients. Tractography of the full brainstem, the cerebellum, and cranial nerves was performed using the software DSI Studio, generalized-q-sampling reconstruction, orientation distribution function (ODF) of fibers, and a quantitative anisotropy–based generalized deterministic algorithm. No ROI or extensive manual filtering of spurious fibers was used. Tractography rendering was displayed in a tridimensional space with directional color code. This approach was also tested on diffusion data from the Human Connectome Project (HCP) database.


The brainstem, the cerebellum, and the cisternal segments of most cranial nerves were depicted in all participants. In cases of skull base tumors, the tridimensional rendering permitted the visualization of the whole anatomical environment and cranial nerve displacement, thus helping the surgical strategy.


As opposed to classical ROI-based methods, this novel full tractography approach could enable routine enhanced surgical planning or brain imaging for skull base tumors.