Minimally invasive resection of intracranial lesions using tubular retractors: a large, multi-surgeon, multi-institutional series



Lesions located in subcortical areas are difficult to safely access. Tubular retractors have been increasingly used successfully with low complication profile to access lesions by minimizing brain retraction trauma and distributing pressure radially. Both binocular operative microscope and monocular exoscope are utilized for lesion visualization through tubular retractors. We present the largest multi-surgeon, multi-institutional series to determine the efficacy and safety profile of a transcortical-transtubular approach for intracranial lesion resections with both microscopic and exoscopic visualization.


We reviewed a multi-surgeon, multi-institutional case series including transcortical-transtubular resection of intracranial lesions using either BrainPath (NICO, Indianapolis, Indiana) or ViewSite Brain Access System (VBAS, Vycor Medical, Boca Raton, Florida) tubular retractors (n = 113).


One hundred thirteen transtubular resections for intracranial lesions were performed. Patients presented with a diverse number of pathologies including 25 cavernous hemangiomas (21.2%), 15 colloid cysts (13.3%), 26 GBM (23.0%), two meningiomas (1.8%), 27 metastases (23.9%), 9 gliomas (7.9%) and 9 other lesions (7.9%). Mean lesion depth below the cortical surface was 4.4 cm, and mean lesion size was 2.7 cm. A gross total resection was achieved in 81 (71.7%) cases. Permanent complication rate was 4.4%. One patient (0.8%) experienced one early postoperative seizure (< 1 week postop). No patients experienced late seizures (> 1 week follow-up). Mean post-operative hospitalization length was 4.1 days.


Tubular retractors provide a minimally invasive operative corridor for resection of intracranial lesions. They provide an effective tool in the neurosurgical armamentarium to resect subcortical lesions with a low complication profile.

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Author information




Conception and design: all authors. Acquisition of data: all authors. Analysis and interpretation of data: all authors. Drafting the article: all authors. Critically revising the article: all authors. Reviewed submitted version of manuscript: all authors. Approved the final version of the manuscript of behalf of all authors: DE. Statistical analysis: DE, LDI, AS. Study supervision: MI, RS, RK.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Daniel G. Eichberg.

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Conflict of interest

Robert M. Starke has the following disclosures: RMS research is supported by the NREF, Joe Niekro Foundation, Brain Aneurysm Foundation, Bee Foundation, and by National Institute of Health (UL1TR002736, KL2TR002737) through the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute, from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH. RMS has consulting and teaching agreements with Penumbra, Abbott, Medtronic, InNeuroCo and Cerenovus. Michael E. Ivan: Consultant to and receiving research funding from Medtronic and the NX Development Corporation. No other authors have any disclosures or conflicts of interest to declare.

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Eichberg, D.G., Di, L., Shah, A.H. et al. Minimally invasive resection of intracranial lesions using tubular retractors: a large, multi-surgeon, multi-institutional series. J Neurooncol 149, 35–44 (2020).

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  • Tubular retractor
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Brain tumor
  • Exoscope
  • Microsurgery
  • Neurosurgery