Modified stereotactic insertion of the Ommaya reservoir

Technical note

Abdul Al-Anazi M.D. 1 and Mark Bernstein M.D., F.R.C.S.(C) 1
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  • 1 Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
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✓ Ommaya reservoirs are used primarily for the repeated injection of intrathecal chemotherapy for leptomeningeal metastasis from hematopoietic and solid malignancies. Insertion of this device in a relatively large nondisplaced ventricle is not a difficult task, but challenges arise when the ventricle is small and/or displaced. Different techniques have been developed to overcome this difficulty, most of which include the use of stereotactic frames. Further improvements would be beneficial.

The technique described in this paper depends on a stereotactic frame; however, the modification proposed by the authors removes the arc system from the surgical field before the actual surgical procedure is begun. Removal of the arc improves access to the surgical field as well as preparation and draping of the surgical site and minimizes potential breaks in sterile technique, which ultimately reduces the incidence of infection. A twist-drill hole along the path of the chosen trajectory becomes an external guide for the ventricular catheter. The technique is easy, user friendly, and results in an unencumbered sterile field and reliable cannulation of small ventricles.

A simple stereotactic technique for Ommaya reservoir insertion has been described. It should lower the chance of infection in this group of patients, most of whom have suppressed immune systems.

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Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Mark Bernstein, M.D., F.R.C.S.(C), Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, 2–405, McLaughlin Pavilion, 399 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario M5T 2S8, Canada. email: mbernstein@torhosp.toronto.on.ca.
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