Benefits and limitations of image guidance in the surgical treatment of intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas.Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2006 Feb; 148(2):145-53; discussion 153.AN
Despite major advances in endovascular embolization techniques, microsurgical resection remains a reliable and effective treatment modality for dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVF). However, intraoperative detection of these lesions and identification of feeding arteries and draining veins can be challenging. In a series of 6 patients who were not candidates for definitive treatment by endovascular embolization we evaluated the benefits and limitations of computer-assisted image guidance for surgical ablation of DAVF.
Of the 6 patients, 5 presented with haemorrhage and one with seizures. Diagnosis of DAVF was made by conventional angiography and dynamic contrast enhanced MR angiography (CE-MRA). All patients were surgically treated with the assistance of a 3D high resolution T1-weighted MR data set and time-of-flight MR angiography (MRA) obtained for neuronavigation. Registration was based on cranial fiducials and image-guided surgery was performed with the navigation system.
Four of the 6 patients suffered from DAVF draining into the superior sagittal sinus, one fistula drained into paracavernous veins adjacent to the superior petrosal sinus and one patient had a pial fistula draining in the straight sinus. DAVF diagnosed with conventional angiography could be located on CE-MRA and MRA prior to surgery. MRI and MRA images were combined on the neuronavigation workstation and DAVF were located intraoperatively by using a tracking device. In 4 out of 6 cases neuronavigation was used for direct intraoperative identification of DAVF. Brain shift prevented direct tracking of pathological vessels in the other 2 cases, where navigation could only be used to assist craniotomy. Microsurgical dissection and coagulation of the fistulas led to complete cure in all patients as confirmed by angiography.
Neuronavigation may be used as an additional tool for microsurgical treatment of DAVF. However, in this small series of 6 cases, surgical procedures have not been substantially altered by the use of the neuronavigation system. Image guidance has been beneficial for the location of small, superficially located DAVF, whereas a navigated approach to deep-seated lesions was less accurate due to the familiar problem of brain shift and brain retraction during surgery.