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Gmaan Alzhrani, Yair M. Gozal, Ilyas Eli, Walavan Sivakumar, Amol Raheja, Douglas L. Brockmeyer and William T. Couldwell

OBJECTIVE

Surgical treatment of pathological processes involving the ventral craniocervical junction (CCJ) traditionally involves anterior and posterolateral skull base approaches. In cases of bilateral extension, when lesions extend beyond the midline to the contralateral side, a unilateral corridor may result in suboptimal resection. In these cases, the lateral extent of the tumor will prevent extirpation of the lesion via anterior surgical approaches. The authors describe a unilateral operative corridor developed along an extreme lateral trajectory to the anterior aspect of the clival and upper cervical dura, allowing exposure and resection of tumor on the contralateral side. This approach is used when the disease involves the bone structures inherent to stability at the anterior CCJ.

METHODS

To achieve exposure of the ventral CCJ, an extreme lateral transcondylar transodontoid (ELTO) approach was performed with transposition of the ipsilateral vertebral artery, followed by drilling of the C1 anterior arch. Resection of the odontoid process allowed access to the contralateral component of lesions across the midline to the region of the extracranial contralateral vertebral artery, maximizing resection.

RESULTS

Exposure and details of the surgical procedure were derived from anatomical cadavers. At the completion of cadaveric dissection, morphometric measurements of the relevant anatomical landmarks were obtained. Illustrative case examples for approaching ventral CCJ chordomas via the ELTO approach are presented.

CONCLUSIONS

The ELTO approach provides a safe and direct surgical corridor to treat complex lesions at the ventral CCJ with bilateral extension through a single operative corridor. This approach can be combined with other lateral approaches or posterior infratemporal approaches to remove more extensive lesions involving the rostral clivus, jugular foramen, and temporal bone.

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Yair M. Gozal, Erinç Aktüre, Vijay M. Ravindra, Jonathan P. Scoville, Randy L. Jensen, William T. Couldwell and Philipp Taussky

OBJECTIVE

The absence of a commonly accepted standardized classification system for complication reporting confounds the recognition, objective reporting, management, and avoidance of perioperative adverse events. In the past decade, several classification systems have been proposed for use in neurosurgery, but these generally focus on tallying specific complications and grading their effect on patient morbidity. Herein, the authors propose and prospectively validate a new neurosurgical complication classification based on understanding the underlying causes of the adverse events.

METHODS

A new complication classification system was devised based on the authors’ previous work on morbidity in endovascular surgery. Adverse events were prospectively compiled for all neurosurgical procedures performed at their tertiary care academic medical center over the course of 1 year into 5 subgroups: 1) indication errors; 2) procedural errors; 3) technical errors; 4) judgment errors; and 5) critical events. The complications were presented at the monthly institutional Morbidity and Mortality conference where, following extensive discussion, they were assigned to one of the 5 subgroups. Additional subgroup analyses by neurosurgical subspecialty were also performed.

RESULTS

A total of 115 neurosurgical complications were observed and analyzed during the study period. Of these, nearly half were critical events, while technical errors accounted for approximately one-third of all complications. Within neurosurgical subspecialties, vascular neurosurgery (36.5%) had the most complications, followed by spine & peripheral nerve (21.7%), neuro-oncology (14.8%), cranial trauma (13.9%), general neurosurgery (12.2%), and functional neurosurgery (0.9%).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ novel neurosurgical complication classification system was successfully implemented in a prospective manner at their high-volume tertiary medical center. By employing the well-established Morbidity and Mortality conference mechanism, this simple system may be easily applied at other neurosurgical centers and may allow for uniform analyses of perioperative morbidity and the introduction of corrective initiatives.

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Hussam Abou-Al-Shaar, Yair M. Gozal, Gmaan Alzhrani, Michael Karsy, Clough Shelton and William T. Couldwell

OBJECTIVE

Postoperative cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) is an uncommon complication of posterior fossa surgery. The true incidence of and optimal management strategy for this entity are largely unknown. Herein, the authors report their institutional incidence and management experience of postoperative CVST after vestibular schwannoma surgery.

METHODS

The authors undertook a retrospective review of all vestibular schwannoma cases that had been treated with microsurgical resection at a single institution from December 2011 to September 2017. Patient and tumor characteristics, risk factors, length of stay, surgical approaches, sinus characteristics, CVST management, complications, and follow-up were analyzed.

RESULTS

A total of 116 patients underwent resection of vestibular schwannoma. The incidence of postoperative CVST was 6.0% (7 patients). All 7 patients developed lateral CVST ipsilateral to the lesion. Four cases occurred after translabyrinthine approaches, 3 occurred after retrosigmoid approaches, and none occurred following middle cranial fossa approaches. Patients were managed with anticoagulation or antiplatelet therapy. Although patients were generally asymptomatic, one patient experienced intraparenchymal hemorrhage, epidural hemorrhage, and obstructive hydrocephalus, likely as a result of the anticoagulation therapy. However, all 7 patients had a modified Rankin scale score of 1 at the last follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

Postoperative CVST is an infrequent complication, with an incidence of 6.0% among 116 patients who had undergone vestibular schwannoma surgery at one institution. Moreover, the management of postoperative CVST with anticoagulation therapy poses a serious dilemma to neurosurgeons. Given the paucity of reports in the literature and the low incidence of CVST, additional studies are needed to better understand the cause of thrombus formation and help to establish evidence-based guidelines for CVST management and prevention.

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Spencer Twitchell, Michael Karsy, Yair M. Gozal, Christian Davidson, William T. Couldwell and Douglas Brockmeyer

Psammomatoid juvenile ossifying fibroma (PJOF) is an uncommon, benign fibro-osseous tumor. It is a purely surgical disease, and a review of the literature revealed that adjuvant therapies, including chemotherapy and radiation, play a limited role. The authors report the case of a 16-year-old male refugee who presented with a giant sinonasal PJOF with parasellar invasion, after having been unable to undergo earlier surgical treatment. The delay in presentation resulted in a large lesion with bilateral optic nerve compression, blindness, and frontal lobe compression. The patient was surgically treated with a two-stage combined cranial and endoscopic endonasal surgical approach. The delay in treatment and significant neurological compromise, which necessitated a two-stage approach, are unique from previously reported cases of PJOF.

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Yair M. Gozal, Gmaan Alzhrani, Hussam Abou-Al-Shaar, Mohammed A. Azab, Michael T. Walsh and William T. Couldwell

OBJECTIVE

Cavernous sinus meningiomas are complex tumors that offer a perpetual challenge to skull base surgeons. The senior author has employed a management strategy for these lesions aimed at maximizing tumor control while minimizing neurological morbidity. This approach emphasizes combining “safe” tumor resection and direct decompression of the roof and lateral wall of the cavernous sinus as well as the optic nerve. Here, the authors review their experience with the application of this technique for the management of cavernous sinus meningiomas over the past 15 years.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis was performed for patients with cavernous sinus meningiomas treated over a 15-year period (2002–2017) with this approach. Patient outcomes, including cranial nerve function, tumor control, and surgical complications were recorded.

RESULTS

The authors identified 50 patients who underwent subtotal resection via frontotemporal craniotomy concurrently with decompression of the cavernous sinus and ipsilateral optic nerve. Of these, 25 (50%) underwent adjuvant radiation to the remaining tumor within the cavernous sinus. Patients most commonly presented with a cranial nerve (CN) palsy involving CN III–VI (70%), a visual deficit (62%), headaches (52%), or proptosis (44%). Thirty-five patients had cranial nerve deficits preoperatively. In 52% of these cases, the neuropathy improved postoperatively; it remained stable in 46%; and it worsened in only 2%. Similarly, 97% of preoperative visual deficits either improved or were stable postoperatively. Notably, 12 new cranial nerve deficits occurred postoperatively in 10 patients. Of these, half were transient and ultimately resolved. Finally, radiographic recurrence was noted in 5 patients (10%), with a median time to recurrence of 4.6 years.

CONCLUSIONS

The treatment of cavernous sinus meningiomas using surgical decompression with or without adjuvant radiation is an effective oncological strategy, achieving excellent tumor control rates with low risk of neurological morbidity.

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Hussam Abou-Al-Shaar, Yair M. Gozal, Jason P. Hunt, Clough Shelton, Lyska L. Emerson, Evan Joyce and William T. Couldwell

Jugular foramen cavernous hemangiomas are extremely rare vascular malformations, and, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, their occurrence as multifocal lesions involving both intra- and extracranial compartments has never been reported before. Here, the authors describe the case of a 60-year-old woman with a complex multifocal jugular foramen cavernous hemangioma. The patient presented with signs and symptoms concerning for jugular foramen syndrome, as well as a right neck mass. Surgical extirpation of the lesion was achieved by a multidisciplinary team via a right infratemporal fossa approach (Fisch type A) with concurrent high neck dissection and a closure buttressed with an autologous fat graft and a temporoparietal fascial flap. Although rare, cavernous hemangiomas should be included in the differential diagnosis of jugular foramen masses.

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Hussam Abou-Al-Shaar, Mohammed A. Azab, Michael Karsy, Jian Guan, Gmaan Alzhrani, Yair M. Gozal, Randy L. Jensen and William T. Couldwell

OBJECTIVE

Microsurgical resection and radiosurgery remain the most widely used interventions in the treatment of vestibular schwannomas. There is a growing demand for cost-effectiveness analyses to evaluate these two treatment modalities and delineate the factors that drive their total costs. Here, the authors evaluated specific cost drivers for microsurgical and radiosurgical management of vestibular schwannoma by using the Value Driven Outcomes system available at the University of Utah.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed all cases involving microsurgical and radiosurgical treatment of vestibular schwannomas at their institution between November 2011 and September 2017. Patient and tumor characteristics, subcategory costs, and potential cost drivers were analyzed.

RESULTS

The authors identified 163 vestibular schwannoma cases, including 116 managed microsurgically and 47 addressed with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). There were significant differences between the two groups in age, tumor size, and preoperative Koos grade (p < 0.05), suggesting that indications for treatment were markedly different. Length of stay (LOS) and length of follow-up were also significantly different. Facility costs were the most significant contributor to both microsurgical and SRS groups (58.3% and 99.4%, respectively); however, physician professional fees were not specifically analyzed. As expected, microsurgical treatment resulted in an average 4-fold greater overall cost of treatment than for SRS cases (p < 0.05), and there was a greater variation in costs for open cases as well. Costs remained stable over time for both open resection and SRS. Multivariable analysis showed that LOS (β = 0.7, p = 0.0001), discharge disposition (β = 0.2, p = 0.004), nonserviceable hearing (β = 0.1, p = 0.02), and complications (β = 0.2, p = 0.005) affected cost for open surgery, whereas no specifically examined factor could be identified as driving costs for SRS.

CONCLUSIONS

This analysis identified the fact that facility utilization constitutes the majority of total costs for both microsurgery and SRS treatment modalities of vestibular schwannomas. LOS, discharge disposition, nonserviceable hearing, and complications contributed significantly to the total costs for the microsurgical group, whereas none of the factors could be identified as driving total costs for the SRS group. This information may be used to establish policies and protocols to reduce facility costs, with the goal of decreasing the total costs without jeopardizing patient care.

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Joseph C. Serrone, Ryan D. Tackla, Yair M. Gozal, Dennis J. Hanseman, Steven L. Gogela, Shawn M. Vuong, Jennifer A. Kosty, Calen A. Steiner, Bryan M. Krueger, Aaron W. Grossman and Andrew J. Ringer

OBJECTIVE

Many low-risk unruptured intracranial aneurysms (UIAs) are followed for growth with surveillance imaging. Growth of UIAs likely increases the risk of rupture. The incidence and risk factors of UIA growth or de novo aneurysm formation require further research. The authors retrospectively identify risk factors and annual risk for UIA growth or de novo aneurysm formation in an aneurysm surveillance protocol.

METHODS

Over an 11.5-year period, the authors recommended surveillance imaging to 192 patients with 234 UIAs. The incidence of UIA growth and de novo aneurysm formation was assessed. With logistic regression, risk factors for UIA growth or de novo aneurysm formation and patient compliance with the surveillance protocol was assessed.

RESULTS

During 621 patient-years of follow-up, the incidence of aneurysm growth or de novo aneurysm formation was 5.0%/patient-year. At the 6-month examination, 5.2% of patients had aneurysm growth and 4.3% of aneurysms had grown. Four de novo aneurysms formed (0.64%/patient-year). Over 793 aneurysm-years of follow-up, the annual risk of aneurysm growth was 3.7%. Only initial aneurysm size predicted aneurysm growth (UIA < 5 mm = 1.6% vs UIA ≥ 5 mm = 8.7%, p = 0.002). Patients with growing UIAs were more likely to also have de novo aneurysms (p = 0.01). Patient compliance with this protocol was 65%, with younger age predictive of better compliance (p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Observation of low-risk UIAs with surveillance imaging can be implemented safely with good adherence. Aneurysm size is the only predictor of future growth. More frequent (semiannual) surveillance imaging for newly diagnosed UIAs and UIAs ≥ 5 mm is warranted.

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Steven L. Gogela, Yair M. Gozal, Bin Zhang, Thomas A. Tomsick, Andrew J. Ringer, Joseph P. Broderick, Pooja Khatri and Todd A. Abruzzo

OBJECTIVE

The impact of extracranial carotid stenosis on interventional revascularization of acute anterior circulation stroke is unknown. The authors examined the effects of high-grade carotid stenosis on the results of endovascular treatment of patients in the Interventional Management of Stroke (IMS)-III trial.

METHODS

The 278 patients in the endovascular arm of the IMS-III trial were categorized according to the degree of carotid stenosis as determined by angiography. In comparing patients with severe stenosis or occlusion (≥ 70%) to those without severe stenosis (< 70%), the authors evaluated the time to endovascular reperfusion, modified Thrombolysis in Cerebrovascular Infarction (mTICI) scores, 24-hour mean infarct volumes, symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage rates, and modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores at 90 days.

RESULTS

Compared with the 249 patients with less than 70% stenosis, patients with severe stenosis (n = 29) were found to have a significantly longer mean time to reperfusion (105.7 vs 77.7 minutes, p = 0.004); differences in mTICI scores, infarct volumes, hemorrhage rates, and mRS scores at 90 days did not reach statistical significance. Multiple regression analysis revealed that severe carotid stenosis (p < 0.0001) and higher baseline National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) scores (p = 0.004) were associated with an increase in time to reperfusion. Older age (p < 0.0001), higher NIHSS score (p < 0.0001), and the absence of reperfusion (p = 0.001) were associated with worse clinical outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

Severe ipsilateral ICA stenosis was associated with a significantly longer time to reperfusion in the IMS-III trial. Although these findings may not translate directly to modern devices, this 28-minute delay in reperfusion has significant implications, raising concern over the treatment of tandem ICA stenosis and downstream large-vessel occlusion.