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Edward D. McCoul, Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz

Object

Endoscopic skull base surgery (ESBS) is a minimal-access technique that provides an alternative to traditional approaches. Patient-reported outcomes are becoming increasingly important in measuring the success of surgical interventions. Endoscopic skull base surgery may lead to improvements in quality of life (QOL) since natural orifices are used to reach the pathology; however, sinonasal QOL may be negatively affected. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of ESBS on both site-specific QOL, using the Anterior Skull Base Questionnaire (ASBQ), and sinonasal-related QOL, using the Sino-Nasal Outcome Test (SNOT-22).

Methods

Consecutive patients from a tertiary referral center who were undergoing ESBS were prospectively enrolled in this study. All patients completed the ASBQ and SNOT-22 preoperatively as well as at regular intervals after ESBS.

Results

Sixty-six patients were included in the study, and 57.6% of them had pituitary adenoma. There was no significant decline or improvement in the ASBQ-measured QOL at 3 and 6 weeks after ESBS, but there were significant improvements at 12 weeks and 6 months postoperatively (p < 0.05). Improvements were noted in all but one ASBQ subdomain at 12 weeks and 6 months postsurgery (p < 0.05). Preoperative QOL was significantly worse in patients who had undergone revision surgery and significantly improved postoperatively in patients who underwent gross-total resection (p < 0.05). Scores on the SNOT-22 worsened at 3 weeks postoperatively and returned to baseline thereafter. The presence of a nasoseptal flap or a graft-donor site did not contribute to a decreased QOL.

Conclusions

Endoscopic skull base surgery is associated with an improvement in postoperative site-specific QOL as compared with the preoperative QOL. Short-term improvements are greater if gross-total resection is achieved. Sinonasal QOL transiently declines and then returns to preoperative baseline levels. Endoscopic skull base surgery is a valuable tool in the neurosurgical management of anterior skull base pathology, leading to improvements in site-specific QOL.

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Tomasz A. Dziedzic, Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz

Although the medial and inferior orbital apex are considered safely accessible using the endonasal endoscopic approach, the lateral apex has been considered unsafe to access since the optic nerve lies between the surgeon and the pathology. The authors present the case of a 4-year-old girl with recurrent rhabdomyosarcoma attached to the lateral rectus muscle located lateral and inferior to the optic nerve in the orbital apex. The tumor was totally resected through an endoscopic endonasal transmaxillary transpterygoidal approach using a 45° endoscope. A gross-total resection was achieved, and the patient’s vision was unchanged. This procedure is a safe, minimal-access alternative to open procedures in selected cases and provides evidence that increases the applicability of the endonasal endoscopic approach to reach the lateral compartment of the orbital apex.

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Justin F. Fraser, Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz

✓The authors present the case of a 71-year-old man who presented with neck pain, a history of gout, and a mass in the dens. Results of transoral endoscopic biopsy sampling demonstrated tophaceous gout. The patient was treated medically and the pain resolved. Tophaceous gout isolated in the dens is extremely rare and should be considered in the differential diagnosis of masses in this region. With the aid of transoral or transnasal endoscopic biopsy sampling, the diagnosis can be reached in a minimally invasive manner.

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Ilya Laufer, Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz

Object

The extended transsphenoidal approach is a less invasive method for removing purely suprasellar lesions compared with traditional transcranial approaches. Most advocates have used a sublabial incision and a microscope and have reported a significant risk of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage. The authors report on a series of purely endoscopic endonasal surgeries for resection of suprasellar supradiaphragmatic lesions above a normal-sized sella turcica with a low risk of CSF leakage.

Methods

A purely endoscopic endonasal approach was used to remove suprasellar lesions in a series of 10 patients. Five lesions were prechiasmal (three tuberculum sellae and two planum sphenoidale meningiomas) and five were post-chiasmal (four craniopharyngiomas and one Rathke cleft cyst). The floor of the planum sphenoidale and the sella turcica was reconstructed using a multilayer closure with autologous and synthetic materials. Spinal drainage was performed in only five cases. Complete resection of the lesions was achieved in all but one patient. The pituitary stalk was preserved in all but one patient, whose stalk was invaded by a craniopharyngioma and who had preoperative diabetes insipidus (DI). Vision improved postoperatively in all patients with preoperative impairment. Six patients had temporary DI; in five, the DI became permanent. Four patients with craniopharyngiomas required cortisone and thyroid replacement. After a mean follow up of 10 months, there was only one transient CSF leak when a lumbar drain was clamped prematurely on postoperative Day 5.

Conclusions

A purely endoscopic endonasal approach to suprasellar supradiaphragmatic lesions is a feasible minimally invasive alternative to craniotomy. With a multilayer closure, the risk of CSF leakage is low and lumbar drainage can be avoided. A larger series will be required to validate this approach.

Free access

Lessons learned in the evolution of endoscopic skull base surgery

JNSPG 75th Anniversary Invited Review Article

Theodore H. Schwartz, Peter F. Morgenstern, and Vijay K. Anand

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic skull base surgery (ESBS) is a relatively recent addition to the neurosurgical armamentarium. As with many new approaches, there has been significant controversy regarding its value compared with more traditional approaches to ventral skull base pathology. Although early enthusiasm for new approaches that appear less invasive is usually high, these new techniques require rigorous study to ensure that widespread implementation is in the best interest of patients.

METHODS

The authors compared surgical results for ESBS with transcranial surgery (TCS) for several different pathologies over two different time periods (prior to 2012 and 2012–2017) to see how results have evolved over time. Pathologies examined were craniopharyngioma, anterior skull base meningioma, esthesioneuroblastoma, chordoma, and chondrosarcoma.

RESULTS

ESBS offers clear advantages over TCS for most craniopharyngiomas and chordomas. For well-selected cases of planum sphenoidale and tuberculum sellae meningiomas, ESBS has similar rates of resection with higher rates of visual improvement, and more recent results with lower CSF leaks make the complication rates similar between the two approaches. TCS offers a higher rate of resection with fewer complications for olfactory groove meningiomas. ESBS is preferred for lower-grade esthesioneuroblastomas, but higher-grade tumors often still require a craniofacial approach. There are few data on chondrosarcomas, but early results show that ESBS appears to offer clear advantages for minimizing morbidity with similar rates of resection, as long as surgeons are familiar with more complex inferolateral approaches.

CONCLUSIONS

ESBS is maturing into a well-established approach that is clearly in the patients’ best interest when applied by experienced surgeons for appropriate pathology. Ongoing critical reevaluation of outcomes is essential for ensuring optimal results.

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Peter J. Wilson, Sacit B. Omay, Ashutosh Kacker, Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Pituitary adenomas are benign, slow-growing tumors that cause symptoms either through mass effect or hormone overproduction. The decision to operate on a healthy young person is relatively straightforward. In the elderly population, however, the risks of complications may increase, rendering the decision more complex. Few studies have documented the risks of surgery using the endonasal endoscopic approach in a large number of elderly patients. The purpose of this study was to audit a single center's data regarding outcomes of purely endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal resection of pituitary adenomas in elderly patients and to compare them to the current literature.

METHODS

A retrospective review of a prospectively acquired database of all endonasal endoscopic surgeries done by the senior authors was queried for patients aged 60–69 years and for those aged 70 years or older. Demographic and radiographic preoperative data were reviewed. Outcomes with respect to extent of resection and complications were examined and compared with appropriate statistical tests.

RESULTS

A total of 135 patents were identified (81 aged 60–69 years and 54 aged 70 years or older [70+]). The average tumor diameter was slightly larger for the patients in the 70+ age group (mean [SD] 25.7 ± 9.2 mm) than for patients aged 60–69 years (23.1 ± 9.8 mm, p = 0.056). There was no significant difference in intraoperative blood loss (p > 0.99), length of stay (p = 0.22), or duration of follow-up (p = 0.21) between the 2 groups. There was a 7.4% complication rate in patients aged 60–69 years (3 nasal and 3 medical complications) and an 18.5% complication rate in patients older than 70 years (4 cranial, 3 nasal, 1 visual, and 2 medical complications; p = 0.05 overall and 0.013 for cranial complications). Cranial complications in the 70+ age category included 2 postoperative hematomas, 1 pseudoaneurysm formation, and 1 case of symptomatic subdural hygromas.

CONCLUSIONS

Endonasal endoscopic surgery in elderly patients is safe, but there is a graded increase in complication rates with increasing age. The decision to operate on an asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic patient in these age groups should take this increasing complication rate into account. The use of a lumbar drain or lumbar punctures should be weighed against the risk of subdural hematoma in patients with preexisting atrophy.

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Osaama H. Khan, M.Sc., Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz

Object

This paper describes a consecutive series of skull base meningiomas resected using an endoscopic endonasal approach through various corridors at a single institution over 7 years. The impact of case selection and experience, the presence of a cortical cuff between the tumor and surrounding vessels, and brain edema on morbidity and rates of gross-total resection (GTR) were examined.

Methods

A retrospective review of a series of 46 skull base meningiomas from a prospective database was conducted. The series of cases were divided by location: olfactory groove (n = 15), tuberculum and planum (n = 20), sellar/cavernous (n = 9) and petroclival (n = 2). Gross-total resection was never intended in the sellar/cavernous tumors, which generally invaded the cavernous sinus. Clinical charts, volumetric imaging, and pathology were reviewed to assess the extent of resection and complications. Cases were divided based on a time point in which surgical technique and case selection improved into Group 1 (surgery prior to June 2008; n = 21) and Group 2 (surgery after June 2008; n = 25) and into those with and without a cortical cuff and with and without brain edema.

Results

Improved case selection had the greatest impact on extent of resection. For the entire cohort, rates of GTR went from 38% to 76% (p = 0.02), and for cases in which GTR was the intent, the rates went from 63% to 84% (not significant), which was mostly driven by the planum and tuberculum meningiomas, which went from 75% to 91.7 % (nonsignificant difference). The presence of a cortical cuff and brain edema had no impact on outcomes. There were 3 CSF leaks (6.5%) but all were in Group 1. Hence, CSF leak improved from 14.2% to 0% with surgical experience. Lessons learned for optimal case selection are discussed.

Conclusions

Surgical outcome for endonasal endoscopic resection of skull base meningiomas depends mostly on careful case selection and surgical experience. Imaging criteria such as the presence of a cortical cuff or brain edema are less important.

Open access

Mina M. Gerges, Brett Youngerman, Vijay K. Anand, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, and Theodore H. Schwartz

An 8-year-old child presented with fatigue, weight loss, and visual deterioration. MRI demonstrated a craniopharyngioma with compression of the optic chiasm and extensive edema on the hypothalamus and optic radiations. The tumor was completely removed via an endoscopic endonasal approach. Postoperatively, vision improved and hypothalamic edema completely resolved within 5 days. This video demonstrates the technical nuances of the surgery and discusses the impact of surgery on the hypothalamic nuclei in pediatric patients.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/wxkBmhTPi6c.

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G. Rene Alvarez Berastegui, Shaan M. Raza, Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz

Visual deterioration after dopamine-agonist treatment of prolactinomas associated with empty sella syndrome and secondary optic apparatus traction is a rare event. Chiasmapexy has been described as a viable treatment option, although few cases exist in the literature. Here, a novel endonasal endoscopic approach to chiasmapexy is described and its efficacy is demonstrated in a case report.

A 55-year-old female patient with a history of a giant prolactinoma and 14 years of treatment using dopaminergic agonist therapy presented to our institution with a 1-month history of visual changes. Neuroophthalmological examination confirmed severe bitemporal field defects, and MRI revealed a large empty sella with downward optic chiasmal herniation. Endoscopic endonasal chiasmapexy was performed by elevating the chiasm with lumbar drainage and filling the clival and sellar defect with an extradural liquid (HydroSet; a cranioplasty bone cement), and a piece of AlloDerm was used to cover and cushion the chiasm. Postoperative imaging demonstrated successful anatomical elevation of the optic apparatus, and the patient showed functional improvement in the visual field at 3 months postoperatively.

Although rare, massive empty sellar and chiasmal descent from macroadenoma treatment can result in progressive visual loss. Here, a novel technique of endonasal endoscopic extradural cranioplasty aided by lumbar drainage is reported, which appears to be an effective technique for stabilizing and possibly reversing anatomical and visual deterioration.