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Toshihiro Ogiwara, Tetsuya Goto, Alhusain Nagm, and Kazuhiro Hongo


The intelligent arm-support system, iArmS, which follows the surgeon’s arm and automatically fixes it at an adequate position, was developed as an operation support robot. iArmS was designed to support the surgeon’s forearm to prevent hand trembling and to alleviate fatigue during surgery with a microscope. In this study, the authors report on application of this robotic device to endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery (ETSS) and evaluate their initial experiences.


The study population consisted of 43 patients: 29 with pituitary adenoma, 3 with meningioma, 3 with Rathke’s cleft cyst, 2 with craniopharyngioma, 2 with chordoma, and 4 with other conditions. All patients underwent surgery via the endonasal transsphenoidal approach using a rigid endoscope. During the nasal and sphenoid phases, iArmS was used to support the surgeon’s nondominant arm, which held the endoscope. The details of the iArmS and clinical results were collected.

Results iArmS followed the surgeon’s arm movement automatically. It reduced the surgeon’s fatigue and stabilized the surgeon’s hand during ETSS. Shaking of the video image decreased due to the steadying of the surgeon’s scope-holding hand with iArmS. There were no complications related to use of the device.


The intelligent armrest, iArmS, seems to be safe and effective during ETSS. iArmS is helpful for improving the precision and safety not only for microscopic neurosurgery, but also for ETSS. Ongoing advances in robotics ensure the continued evolution of neurosurgery.

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Alhusain Nagm, Toshihiro Ogiwara, Takeo Goto, Kazuhiro Hongo, and Kenji Ohata

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Toshihiro Ogiwara, Alhusain Nagm, and Kazuhiro Hongo

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Toshihiro Ogiwara and Tetsuyoshi Horiuchi

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Yukinari Kakizawa, Tatsuya Seguchi, Kunihiko Kodama, Toshihiro Ogiwara, Tetsuo Sasaki, Tetsuya Goto, and Kazuhiro Hongo


Neuroimages often reveal that the trigeminal or facial nerve comes in contact with vessels but does not produce symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia (TN) or hemifacial spasm (HFS). The authors conducted this study to determine how often the trigeminal and facial nerves came in contact with vessels in individuals not suffering from TN or HFS. They also investigated the correlation between aging and the anatomical measurements of the trigeminal and facial nerves.


Between November 2005 and August 2006, 220 nerves in 110 individuals (60 women and 50 men; mean age 55.1 years, range 19–85 years) who had undergone brain magnetic resonance (MR) imaging for other reasons were studied. The lengths, angles, ratio, and contact points were measured in each individual. A correlation between each parameter and age was statistically analyzed.


The mean (± standard deviation) length of the trigeminal nerve was 9.66 ± 1.71 mm, the mean distance between the bilateral trigeminal nerves was 31.97 ± 1.82 mm, and the mean angle between the trigeminal nerve and the midline was 9.71 ± 5.83°. The trigeminal nerve was significantly longer in older patients. Of 220 trigeminal nerves, 108 (49.0%; 51 women and 57 men) came in contact with vasculature. There was 1 contact point in 99 nerves (45%) and 2 contact points in 9 nerves (4.1%). Contact without deviation of the nerve was seen in 91 individuals (43 women and 48 men), and mild deviation was noted in 17 individuals (8 women and 9 men). There was no moderate or severe deviation in any individual in this series. The mean length of the facial nerve was 29.78 ± 2.31 mm, the mean distance between the bilateral facial nerves was 28.65 ± 2.22 mm, the angle between the nerve and midline was 69.68 ± 5.84°, and the vertical ratio at the porus acusticus was 0.467 ± 0.169. Of all facial nerves, 173 (78.6%; 101 in women and 72 in men) came in contact with some vasculature. Contact without deviation was seen on 64 sides (in 37 women and 27 men), mild deviation on 98 sides (in 57 women and 41 men), and moderate deviation on 11 sides (in 7 women and 4 men). There was no severe deviation of the facial nerve in this series. The proximal length of the facial nerve, interval, angle, and ratio against the age were significantly shorter or smaller in the older individuals.


The findings in asymptomatic individuals in this study will help in deciding which findings observed on MR images may cause symptoms. In addition, the authors describe the variations of normal anatomy in older individuals. Knowledge of the normal anatomy helps to hone the diagnostic practices for microvascular decompression, which may increase the feasible results on such surgery.

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Toshihiro Ogiwara, Tetsuya Goto, Yoshikazu Kusano, Masafumi Kuroiwa, Takafumi Kiuchi, Kunihiko Kodama, Toshiki Takemae, and Kazuhiro Hongo

Microvascular decompression (MVD) via lateral suboccipital craniotomy is the standard surgical intervention for trigeminal neuralgia (TN). For recurrent TN, difficulties are sometimes encountered when performing reoperation via the same approach because of adhesions and prosthetic materials used in the previous surgery. In the present case report the authors describe the efficacy of the subtemporal transtentorial approach for use in recurrent TN after MVD via the lateral suboccipital approach. An 86-year-old woman, in whom an MVD via a lateral suboccipital craniotomy had previously been performed for TN, underwent surgery for recurrent TN via the subtemporal transtentorial approach, which provided excellent visualization of the neurovascular relationships and the trigeminal nerve without adhesions due to the previous surgery. Her TN disappeared after the MVD. The present approach is ideal for visualizing the trigeminal root entry zone, and the neurovascular complex can be easily dissected using a new surgical trajectory. This approach could be another surgical option for reoperation when the previous MVD had been performed via the suboccipital approach.