Neurosurgery Blog

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Daily bibliographic review of the Neurosurgery Department. La Fe University Hospital. Valencia, Spain

Image-guided endoscopic surgery for spontaneous supratentorial intracerebral hematoma

J Neurosurg 127:537–542, 2017

Endoscopic removal of intracerebral hematomas is becoming increasingly common, but there is no standard technique. The authors explored the use of a simple image-guided endoscopic method for removal of spontaneous supratentorial hematomas.

METHODS Virtual reality technology based on a hospital picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) was used in 3D hematoma visualization and surgical planning. Augmented reality based on an Android smartphone app, Sina neurosurgical assist, allowed a projection of the hematoma to be seen on the patient’s scalp to facilitate selection of the best trajectory to the center of the hematoma. A obturator and transparent sheath were used to establish a working channel, and an endoscope and a metal suction apparatus were used to remove the hematoma.

RESULTS A total of 25 patients were included in the study, including 18 with putamen hemorrhages and 7 with lobar cerebral hemorrhages. Virtual reality combined with augmented reality helped in achieving the desired position with the obturator and sheath. The median time from the initial surgical incision to completion of closure was 50 minutes (range 40–70 minutes). The actual endoscopic operating time was 30 (range 15–50) minutes. The median blood loss was 80 (range 40–150) ml. No patient experienced postoperative rebleeding. The average hematoma evacuation rate was 97%. The mean (± SD) preoperative Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score was 6.7 ± 3.2; 1 week after hematoma evacuation the mean GCS score had improved to 11.9 ± 3.1 (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS Virtual reality using hospital PACS and augmented reality with a smartphone app helped precisely localize hematomas and plan the appropriate endoscopic approach. A transparent sheath helped establish a surgical channel, and an endoscope enabled observation of the hematoma’s location to achieve satisfactory hematoma removal.

Two distinct populations of Chiari I malformation based on presence or absence of posterior fossa crowdedness on magnetic resonance imaging

J Neurosurg 126:1934–1940, 2017

A subset of patients with Chiari I malformation demonstrate patent subarachnoid spaces around the cerebellum, indicating that reduced posterior fossa volume alone does not account for tonsillar descent. The authors distinguish two subsets of Chiari I malformation patients based on the degree of “posterior fossa crowdedness” on MRI.

METHODS Two of the coauthors independently reviewed the preoperative MR images of 49 patients with Chiari I malformation and categorized the posterior fossa as “spacious” or “crowded.” Volumetric analysis of posterior fossa structures was then performed using open-source DICOM software. The preoperative clinical and imaging features of the two groups were compared.

RESULTS The posterior fossae of 25 patients were classified as spacious and 20 as crowded by both readers; 4 were incongruent. The volumes of the posterior fossa compartment, posterior fossa tissue, and hindbrain (posterior fossa tissue including herniated tonsils) were statistically similar between the patients with spacious and crowed subtypes (p = 0.33, p = 0.17, p = 0.20, respectively). However, patients in the spacious and crowded subtypes demonstrated significant differences in the ratios of posterior fossa tissue to compartment volumes as well as hindbrain to compartment volumes (p = 0.001 and p = 0.0004, respectively). The average age at surgery was 29.2 ± 19.3 years (mean ± SD) and 21.9 ± 14.9 years for spacious and crowded subtypes, respectively (p = 0.08). Syringomyelia was more prevalent in the crowded subtype (50% vs 28%, p = 0.11).

CONCLUSIONS The authors’ study identifies two subtypes of Chiari I malformation, crowded and spacious, that can be distinguished by MRI appearance without volumetric analysis. Earlier age at surgery and presence of syringomyelia are more common in the crowded subtype. The presence of the spacious subtype suggests that crowdedness alone cannot explain the pathogenesis of Chiari I malformation in many patients, supporting the need for further investigation.

 

Variability of intraoperative electrostimulation parameters in conscious individuals: language cortex

J Neurosurg 126:1641–1652, 2017

Electrostimulation in awake brain mapping is widely used to guide tumor removal, but methodologies can differ substantially across institutions. The authors studied electrostimulation brain mapping data to characterize the variability of the current intensity threshold across patients and the effect of its variations on the number, type, and surface area of the essential language areas detected.

METHODS Over 7 years, the authors prospectively studied 100 adult patients who were undergoing intraoperative brain mapping during resection of left hemisphere tumors. In all 100 cases, the same protocol of electrostimulation brain mapping (a controlled naming task—bipolar stimulation with biphasic square wave pulses of 1-msec duration and 60-Hz trains, maximum train duration 6 sec) and electrocorticography was used to detect essential language areas.

RESULTS The minimum positive thresholds of stimulation varied from patient to patient; the mean minimum intensity required to detect interference was 4.46 mA (range 1.5–9 mA), and in a substantial proportion of sites (13.5%) interference was detected only at intensities above 6 mA. The threshold varied within a given patient for different naming areas in 22% of cases. Stimulation of the same naming area with greater intensities led to slight changes in the type of response in 19% of cases and different types of responses in 4.5%. Naming sites detected were located in subcentimeter cortical areas (50% were less than 20 mm2), but their extent varied with the intensity of stimulation. During a brain mapping session, the same intensity of stimulation reproduced the same type of interference in 94% of the cases. There was no statistically significant difference between the mean stimulation intensities required to produce interfereince in the left inferior frontal lobe (Broca’s area), the supramarginal gyri, and the posterior temporal region.

CONCLUSIONS Intrasubject and intersubject variations of the minimum thresholds of positive naming areas and changes in the type of response and in the size of these areas according to the intensity used may limit the interpretation of data from electrostimulation in awake brain mapping. To optimize the identification of language areas during electrostimulation brain mapping, it is important to use different intensities of stimulation at the maximum possible currents, avoiding afterdischarges. This could refine the clinical results and scientific data derived from these mapping sessions.

Novel method for dynamic control of intracranial pressure

J Neurosurg 126:1629–1640, 2017

Intracranial pressure (ICP) pulsations are generally considered a passive result of the pulsatility of blood flow. Active experimental modification of ICP pulsations would allow investigation of potential active effects on blood and CSF flow and potentially create a new platform for the treatment of acute and chronic low blood flow states as well as a method of CSF substance clearance and delivery. This study presents a novel method and device for altering the ICP waveform via cardiac-gated volume changes.

METHODS The novel device used in this experiment (named Cadence) consists of a small air-filled inelastic balloon (approximately 1.0 ml) implanted into the intracranial space and connected to an external programmable pump, triggered by an R-wave detector. Balloons were implanted into the epidural space above 1 of the hemispheres of 19 canines for up to 10 hours. When activated, the balloons were programed to cyclically inflate with the cardiac cycle with variable delay, phase, and volume. The ICP response was measured in both hemispheres. Additionally, cerebral blood flow (heat diffusion and laser Doppler) was studied in 16 canines.

RESULTS This system, depending on the inflation pattern of the balloon, allowed a flattening of the ICP waveform, increase in the ICP waveform amplitude, or phase shift of the wave. This occurred with small mean ICP changes, typically around ± 2 mm Hg (15%). Bilateral ICP effects were observed with activation of the device: balloon inflation at each systole increased the systolic ICP pulse (up to 16 mm Hg, 1200%) and deflation at systole decreased or even inverted the systolic ICP pulse (-0.5 to -19 mm Hg, -5% to -1600%) in a dose-(balloon volume) dependent fashion. No aphysiological or deleterious effects on systemic pressure (≤ ±10 mm Hg; 13% change in mean pressure) or cardiac rate (≤ ± 17 beats per minute; 16% change) were observed during up to 4 hours of balloon activity.

CONCLUSIONS The results of these initial studies using an intracranially implanted, cardiac-gated, volume-oscillating balloon suggest the Cadence device can be used to modify ICP pulsations, without physiologically deleterious effects on mean ICP, systemic vascular effects, or brain injury. This device and technique may be used to study the role of ICP pulsatility in intracranial hemo- and hydrodynamic processes and introduces the creation of a potential platform of a cardiac-gated system for treatment of acute and chronic low blood flow states, and diseases requiring augmentation of CSF substance clearance or delivery.

A novel miniature robotic device for frameless implantation of depth electrodes in refractory epilepsy

J Neurosurg 126:1622–1628, 2017

The authors’ group recently published a novel technique for a navigation-guided frameless stereotactic approach for the placement of depth electrodes in epilepsy patients. To improve the accuracy of the trajectory and enhance the procedural workflow, the authors implemented the iSys1 miniature robotic device in the present study into this routine.

METHODS As a first step, a preclinical phantom study was performed using a human skull model, and the accuracy and timing between 5 electrodes implanted with the manual technique and 5 with the aid of the robot were compared. After this phantom study showed an increased accuracy with robot-assisted electrode placement and confirmed the robot’s ability to maintain stability despite the rotational forces and the leverage effect from drilling and screwing, patients were enrolled and analyzed for robot-assisted depth electrode placement at the authors’ institution from January 2014 to December 2015. All procedures were performed with the S7 Surgical Navigation System with Synergy Cranial software and the iSys1 miniature robotic device.

RESULTS Ninety-three electrodes were implanted in 16 patients (median age 33 years, range 3–55 years; 9 females, 7 males). The authors saw a significant increase in accuracy compared with their manual technique, with a median deviation from the planned entry and target points of 1.3 mm (range 0.1–3.4 mm) and 1.5 mm (range 0.3–6.7 mm), respectively. For the last 5 patients (31 electrodes) of this series the authors modified their technique in placing a guide for implantation of depth electrodes (GIDE) on the bone and saw a significant further increase in the accuracy at the entry point to 1.18 ± 0.5 mm (mean ± SD) compared with 1.54 ± 0.8 mm for the first 11 patients (p = 0.021). The median length of the trajectories was 45.4 mm (range 19–102.6 mm). The mean duration of depth electrode placement from the start of trajectory alignment to fixation of the electrode was 15.7 minutes (range 8.5–26.6 minutes), which was significantly faster than with the manual technique. In 12 patients, depth electrode placement was combined with subdural electrode placement. The procedure was well tolerated in all patients. The authors did not encounter any case of hemorrhage or neurological deficit related to the electrode placement. In 1 patient with a psoriasis vulgaris, a superficial wound infection was encountered. Adequate physiological recordings were obtained from all electrodes. No additional electrodes had to be implanted because of misplacement.

CONCLUSIONS The iSys1 robotic device is a versatile and easy to use tool for frameless implantation of depth electrodes for the treatment of epilepsy. It increased the accuracy of the authors’ manual technique by 60% at the entry point and over 30% at the target. It further enhanced and expedited the authors’ procedural workflow.

Passive language mapping combining real-time oscillation analysis with cortico-cortical evoked potentials for awake craniotomy

J Neurosurg 125:1580–1588, 2016

Electrocortical stimulation (ECS) is the gold standard for functional brain mapping; however, precise functional mapping is still difficult in patients with language deficits. High gamma activity (HGA) between 80 and 140 Hz on electrocorticography is assumed to reflect localized cortical processing, whereas the cortico-cortical evoked potential (CCEP) can reflect bidirectional responses evoked by monophasic pulse stimuli to the language cortices when there is no patient cooperation. The authors propose the use of “passive” mapping by combining HGA mapping and CCEP recording without active tasks during conscious resections of brain tumors.

Methods Five patients, each with an intraaxial tumor in their dominant hemisphere, underwent conscious resection of their lesion with passive mapping. The authors performed functional localization for the receptive language area, using real-time HGA mapping, by listening passively to linguistic sounds. Furthermore, single electrical pulses were delivered to the identified receptive temporal language area to detect CCEPs in the frontal lobe. All mapping results were validated by ECS, and the sensitivity and specificity were evaluated.

Results Linguistic HGA mapping quickly identified the language area in the temporal lobe. Electrical stimulation by linguistic HGA mapping to the identified temporal receptive language area evoked CCEPs on the frontal lobe. The combination of linguistic HGA and frontal CCEPs needed no patient cooperation or effort. In this small case series, the sensitivity and specificity were 93.8% and 89%, respectively.

Conclusions The described technique allows for simple and quick functional brain mapping with higher sensitivity and specificity than ECS mapping. The authors believe that this could improve the reliability of functional brain mapping and facilitate rational and objective operations. Passive mapping also sheds light on the underlying physiological mechanisms of language in the human brain.

Identification of language area and the pars triangularis

language-area-and-pt

Journal of Neurosurgery Vol. 125 / No. 4 : 803-811

Identification of language areas using functional brain mapping is sometimes impossible using current methods but essential to preserve language function in patients with gliomas located within or near the frontal language area (FLA). However, the factors that influence the failure to detect language areas have not been elucidated. The present study evaluated the difficulty in identifying the FLA in dominant-side frontal gliomas that involve the pars triangularis (PT) to determine the factors that influenced failed positive language mapping.

Methods: Awake craniotomy was performed on 301 patients from April 2000 to October 2013 at Tokyo Women’s Medical University. Recurrent cases were excluded, and patients were also excluded if motor mapping indicated their glioma was in or around the motor area on the dominant or nondominant side. Eighty-two consecutive cases of primary frontal glioma on the dominant side were analyzed for the present study. MRI was used for all patients to evaluate whether tumors involved the PT and to perform language functional mapping with a bipolar electrical stimulator. Eighteen of 82 patients (mean age 39 ± 13 years) had tumors that showed involvement of the PT, and the detailed characteristics of these 18 patients were examined.

Results: The FLA could not be identified with intraoperative brain mapping in 14 (17%) of 82 patients; 11 (79%) of these 14 patients had a tumor involving the PT. The negative response rate in language mapping was only 5% in patients without involvement of the PT, whereas this rate was 61% in patients with involvement of the PT. Univariate analyses showed no significant correlation between identification of the FLA and sex, age, histology, or WHO grade. However, failure to identify the FLA was significantly correlated with involvement of the PT (p < 0.0001). Similarly, multivariate analyses with the logistic regression model showed that only involvement of the PT was significantly correlated with failure to identify the FLA (p < 0.0001). In 18 patients whose tumors involved the PT, only 1 patient had mild preoperative dysphasia. One week after surgery, language function worsened in 4 (22%) of 18 patients. Six months after surgery, 1 (5.6%) of 18 patients had a persistent mild speech deficit. The mean extent of resection was 90% ± 7.1%.

Conclusions: Identification of the FLA can be difficult in patients with frontal gliomas on the dominant side that involve the PT, but the positive mapping rate of the FLA was 95% in patients without involvement of the PT. These findings are useful for establishing a positive mapping strategy for patients undergoing awake craniotomy for the treatment of frontal gliomas on the dominant side. Thoroughly positive language mapping with subcortical electrical stimulation should be performed in patients without involvement of the PT. More careful continuous neurological monitoring combined with subcortical electrical stimulation is needed when removing dominant-side frontal gliomas that involve the PT.

Identification of language area and the pars triangularis

language-area-and-pt

J Neurosurg 125:803–811, 2016

Identification of language areas using functional brain mapping is sometimes impossible using current methods but essential to preserve language function in patients with gliomas located within or near the frontal language area (FLA). However, the factors that influence the failure to detect language areas have not been elucidated. The present study evaluated the difficulty in identifying the FLA in dominant-side frontal gliomas that involve the pars triangularis (PT) to determine the factors that influenced failed positive language mapping.

Methods: Awake craniotomy was performed on 301 patients from April 2000 to October 2013 at Tokyo Women’s Medical University. Recurrent cases were excluded, and patients were also excluded if motor mapping indicated their glioma was in or around the motor area on the dominant or nondominant side. Eighty-two consecutive cases of primary frontal glioma on the dominant side were analyzed for the present study. MRI was used for all patients to evaluate whether tumors involved the PT and to perform language functional mapping with a bipolar electrical stimulator. Eighteen of 82 patients (mean age 39 ± 13 years) had tumors that showed involvement of the PT, and the detailed characteristics of these 18 patients were examined.

Results: The FLA could not be identified with intraoperative brain mapping in 14 (17%) of 82 patients; 11 (79%) of these 14 patients had a tumor involving the PT. The negative response rate in language mapping was only 5% in patients without involvement of the PT, whereas this rate was 61% in patients with involvement of the PT. Univariate analyses showed no significant correlation between identification of the FLA and sex, age, histology, or WHO grade. However, failure to identify the FLA was significantly correlated with involvement of the PT (p < 0.0001). Similarly, multivariate analyses with the logistic regression model showed that only involvement of the PT was significantly correlated with failure to identify the FLA (p < 0.0001). In 18 patients whose tumors involved the PT, only 1 patient had mild preoperative dysphasia. One week after surgery, language function worsened in 4 (22%) of 18 patients. Six months after surgery, 1 (5.6%) of 18 patients had a persistent mild speech deficit. The mean extent of resection was 90% ± 7.1%.

Conclusions: Identification of the FLA can be difficult in patients with frontal gliomas on the dominant side that involve the PT, but the positive mapping rate of the FLA was 95% in patients without involvement of the PT. These findings are useful for establishing a positive mapping strategy for patients undergoing awake craniotomy for the treatment of frontal gliomas on the dominant side. Thoroughly positive language mapping with subcortical electrical stimulation should be performed in patients without involvement of the PT. More careful continuous neurological monitoring combined with subcortical electrical stimulation is needed when removing dominant-side frontal gliomas that involve the PT.

In vivo visualization of the facial nerve in patients with acoustic neuroma using diffusion tensor imaging–based fiber tracking

study-of-facial-nerve-reconstruction

J Neurosurg 125:787–794, 2016

Preoperative determination of the facial nerve (FN) course is essential to preserving its function. Neither regular preoperative imaging examination nor intraoperative electrophysiological monitoring is able to determine the exact position of the FN. The diffusion tensor imaging–based fiber tracking (DTI-FT) technique has been widely used for the preoperative noninvasive visualization of the neural fasciculus in the white matter of brain. However, further studies are required to establish its role in the preoperative visualization of the FN in acoustic neuroma surgery. The object of this study is to evaluate the feasibility of using DTI-FT to visualize the FN.

Methods: Data from 15 patients with acoustic neuromas were collected using 3-T MRI. The visualized FN course and its position relative to the tumors were determined using DTI-FT with 3D Slicer software. The preoperative visualization results of FN tracking were verified using microscopic observation and electrophysiological monitoring during microsurgery.

Results: Preoperative visualization of the FN using DTI-FT was observed in 93.3% of the patients. However, in 92.9% of the patients, the FN visualization results were consistent with the actual surgery.

Conclusions: DTI-FT, in combination with intraoperative FN electrophysiological monitoring, demonstrated improved FN preservation in patients with acoustic neuroma. FN visualization mainly included the facial-vestibular nerve complex of the FN and vestibular nerve.

Intraoperative monitoring of threshold level in transcranial MEP

mep

J Neurosurg 125:795–802, 2016

Warning criteria for monitoring of motor evoked potentials (MEP) after direct cortical stimulation during surgery for supratentorial tumors have been well described. However, little is known about the value of MEP after transcranial electrical stimulation (TES) in predicting postoperative motor deficit when monitoring threshold level. The authors aimed to evaluate the feasibility and value of this method in glioma surgery by using a new approach for interpreting changes in threshold level involving contra- and ipsilateral MEP.

Methods Between November 2013 and December 2014, 93 patients underwent TES-MEP monitoring during resection of gliomas located close to central motor pathways but not involving the primary motor cortex. The MEP were elicited by transcranial repetitive anodal train stimulation. Bilateral MEP were continuously evaluated to assess percentage increase of threshold level (minimum voltage needed to evoke a stable motor response from each of the muscles being monitored) from the baseline set before dural opening. An increase in threshold level on the contralateral side (facial, arm, or leg muscles contralateral to the affected hemisphere) of more than 20% beyond the percentage increase on the ipsilateral side (facial, arm, or leg muscles ipsilateral to the affected hemisphere) was considered a significant alteration. Recorded alterations were subsequently correlated with postoperative neurological deterioration and MRI findings.

Results TES-MEP could be elicited in all patients, including those with recurrent glioma (31 patients) and preoperative paresis (20 patients). Five of 73 patients without preoperative paresis showed a significant increase in threshold level, and all of them developed new paresis postoperatively (transient in 4 patients and permanent in 1 patient). Eight of 20 patients with preoperative paresis showed a significant increase in threshold level, and all of them developed postoperative neurological deterioration (transient in 4 patients and permanent in 4 patients). In 80 patients no significant change in threshold level was detected, and none of them showed postoperative neurological deterioration. The specificity and sensitivity in this series were estimated at 100%. Postoperative MRI revealed gross-total tumor resection in 56 of 82 patients (68%) in whom complete tumor resection was attainable; territorial ischemia was detected in 4 patients.

Conclusions The novel threshold criterion has made TES-MEP a useful method for predicting postoperative motor deficit in patients who undergo glioma surgery, and has been feasible in patients with preoperative paresis as well as in patients with recurrent glioma. Including contra- and ipsilateral changes in threshold level has led to a high sensitivity and specificity.

App-assisted external ventricular drain insertion

app-assisted-external-ventricular-drain-insertion

J Neurosurg 125:754–758, 2016

The freehand technique for insertion of an external ventricular drain (EVD) is based on fixed anatomical landmarks and does not take individual variations into consideration. A patient-tailored approach based on augmented-reality techniques using devices such as smartphones can address this shortcoming. The Sina neurosurgical assist (Sina) is an Android mobile device application (app) that was designed and developed to be used as a simple intraoperative neurosurgical planning aid. It overlaps the patient’s images from previously performed CT or MRI studies on the image seen through the device camera.

The device is held by an assistant who aligns the images and provides information about the relative position of the target and EVD to the surgeon who is performing EVD insertion. This app can be used to provide guidance and continuous monitoring during EVD placement.

The author describes the technique of Sina-assisted EVD insertion into the frontal horn of the lateral ventricle and reports on its clinical application in 5 cases as well as the results of ex vivo studies of ease of use and precision. The technique has potential for further development and use with other augmented-reality devices.

Monopolar high-frequency language mapping: can it help in the surgical management of gliomas?

Monopolar high-frequency language mapping- can it help in the surgical management of gliomas?

J Neurosurg 124:1479–1489, 2016

Intraoperative language mapping is traditionally performed with low-frequency bipolar stimulation (LFBS). High-frequency train-of-five stimulation delivered by a monopolar probe (HFMS) is an alternative technique for motor mapping, with a lower reported seizure incidence. The application of HFMS in language mapping is still limited. Authors of this study assessed the efficacy and safety of HFMS for language mapping during awake surgery, exploring its clinical impact compared with that of LFBS.

Methods Fifty-nine patients underwent awake surgery with neuropsychological testing, and LFBS and HFMS were compared. Frequency, type, and site of evoked interference were recorded. Language was scored preoperatively and 1 week and 3 months after surgery. Extent of resection was calculated as well.

Results High-frequency monopolar stimulation induced a language disturbance when the repetition rate was set at 3 Hz. Interference with counting (p = 0.17) and naming (p = 0.228) did not vary between HFMS and LFBS. These results held true when preoperative tumor volume, lesion site, histology, and recurrent surgery were considered. Intraoperative responses (1603) in all patients were compared. The error rate for both modalities differed from baseline values (p < 0.001) but not with one another (p = 0.06). Low-frequency bipolar stimulation sensitivity (0.458) and precision (0.665) were slightly higher than the HFMS counterparts (0.367 and 0.582, respectively). The error rate across the 3 types of language errors (articulatory, anomia, paraphasia) did not differ between the 2 stimulation methods (p = 0.279).

Conclusions: With proper setting adjustments, HFMS is a safe and effective technique for language mapping.

Endoscopic versus microscopic surgery using a port retractor

Comparison of endoscope- versus microscope-assisted resection of deep-seated intracranial lesions using a minimally invasive port retractor system

J Neurosurg 124:799–810, 2016

Tubular brain retractors may improve access to deep-seated brain lesions while potentially reducing the risks of collateral neurological injury associated with standard microsurgical approaches. Here, microscope-assisted resection of lesions using tubular retractors is assessed to determine if it is superior to endoscope-assisted surgery due to the technological advancements associated with modern tubular ports and surgical microscopes.

Methods Following institutional approval of the tubular port, data obtained from the initial 20 patients to undergo transportal resection of deep-seated brain lesions were analyzed in this study. The pathological entities of the resected tissues included metastatic tumors (8 patients), glioma (7), meningioma (1), neurocytoma (1), radiation necrosis (1), primitive neuroectodermal tumor (1), and hemangioblastoma (1). Surgery incorporated endoscopic (5 patients) or microscopic (15) assistance. The locations included the basal ganglia (11 patients), cerebellum (4), frontal lobe (2), temporal lobe (2), and parietal lobe (1). Cases were reviewed for neurological outcomes, extent of resection (EOR), and complications. Technical data for the port, surgical microscope, and endoscope were analyzed.

Results EOR was considered total in 14 (70%), near total (> 95%) in 4 (20%), and subtotal (< 90%) in 2 (10%) of 20 patients. Incomplete resection was associated with the basal ganglia location (p < 0.05) and use of the endoscope (p < 0.002). Four of 5 (80%) endoscope-assisted cases were near-total (2) or subtotal (2) resection. Histopathological diagnosis, presenting neurological symptoms, and demographics were not associated with EOR. Complication rates were low and similar between groups.

Conclusions Initial experience with tubular retractors favors use of the microscope rather than the endoscope due to a wider and 3D field of view. Improved microscope optics and tubular retractor design allows for binocular vision with improved lighting for the resection of deep-seated brain lesions.

Combined use of diffusion tensor tractography and multifused contrast-enhanced FIESTA for predicting facial and cochlear nerve positions in relation to vestibular schwannoma

Combined use of diffusion tensor tractography and multifused contrast-enhanced FIESTA for predicting facial and cochlear nerve positions in relation to vestibular schwannoma

J Neurosurg 123:1480–1488, 2015

The authors assessed whether the combined use of diffusion tensor tractography (DTT) and contrastenhanced (CE) fast imaging employing steady-state acquisition (FIESTA) could improve the accuracy of predicting the courses of the facial and cochlear nerves before surgery.

Methods The population was composed of 22 patients with vestibular schwannoma in whom both the facial and cochlear nerves could be identified during surgery. According to DTT, depicted fibers running from the internal auditory canal to the brainstem were judged to represent the facial or vestibulocochlear nerve. With regard to imaging, the authors investigated multifused CE-FIESTA scans, in which all 3D vessel models were shown simultaneously, from various angles. The low-intensity areas running along the tumor from brainstem to the internal auditory canal were judged to represent the facial or vestibulocochlear nerve.

Results For all 22 patients, the rate of fibers depicted by DTT coinciding with the facial nerve was 13.6% (3/22), and that of fibers depicted by DTT coinciding with the cochlear nerve was 63.6% (14/22). The rate of candidates for nerves predicted by multifused CE-FIESTA coinciding with the facial nerve was 59.1% (13/22), and that of candidates for nerves predicted by multifused CE-FIESTA coinciding with the cochlear nerve was 4.5% (1/22). The rate of candidates for nerves predicted by combined DTT and multifused CE-FIESTA coinciding with the facial nerve was 63.6% (14/22), and that of candidates for nerves predicted by combined DTT and multifused CE-FIESTA coinciding with the cochlear nerve was 63.6% (14/22). The rate of candidates predicted by DTT coinciding with both facial and cochlear nerves was 0.0% (0/22), that of candidates predicted by multifused CE-FIESTA coinciding with both facial and cochlear nerves was 4.5% (1/22), and that of candidates predicted by combined DTT and multifused CE-FIESTA coinciding with both the facial and cochlear nerves was 45.5% (10/22).

Conclusions By using a combination of DTT and multifused CE-FIESTA, the authors were able to increase the number of vestibular schwannoma patients for whom predicted results corresponded with the courses of both the facial and cochlear nerves, a result that has been considered difficult to achieve by use of a single modality only. Although the 3D image including these prediction results helped with comprehension of the 3D operative anatomy, the reliability of prediction remains to be established.

The lateral infratrigeminal transpontine window to deep pontine lesions

The lateral infratrigeminal transpontine window to deep pontine lesions

J Neurosurg 123:699–710, 2015

Surgery of brainstem lesions is increasingly performed despite the fact that surgical indications and techniques continue to be debated. The deep pons, in particular, continues to be a critical area in which the specific risks related to different surgical strategies continue to be examined. With the intention of bringing new knowledge into this important arena, the authors systematically examined the results of brainstem surgeries that have been performed through the lateral infratrigeminal transpontine window.

Methods Between 1990 and 2013, 29 consecutive patients underwent surgery through this window for either biopsy sampling or for removal of a deep pontine lesion. All of this work was performed at the Department of Neurosurgery of the Istituto Nazionale Neurologico “Carlo Besta”, in Milan, Italy. A retrospective analysis of the findings was conducted with the intention of bringing further clarity to this important surgical strategy.

Results The lateral infratrigeminal transpontine window was exposed through 4 different approaches: 1) classic retrosigmoid (15 cases), 2) minimally invasive keyhole retrosigmoid (10 cases), 3) translabyrinthine (1 case), and 4) combined petrosal (3 cases). No deaths occurred during the entire clinical study. The surgical complications that were observed included hydrocephalus (2 cases) and CSF leakage (1 case). In 6 (20.7%) of 29 patients the authors encountered new neurological deficits during the immediate postoperative period. All 6 of these patients had undergone lesion removal. In only 2 of these 6 patients were permanent sequelae observed at 3 months follow-up. These findings show that 93% of the patients studied did not report any permanent worsening of their neurological condition after this surgical intervention.

Conclusions This retrospective study supports the idea that the lateral infratrigeminal transpontine window is both a low-risk and safe corridor for either biopsy sampling or for removal of deep pontine lesions.

Feasibility study for brain biopsies performed with the use of a head-mounted robot

Feasibility study for brain biopsies performed with the use of a head-mounted robotJ Neurosurg 123:737–742, 2015

Frame-based stereotactic interventions are considered the gold standard for brain biopsies, but they have limitations with regard to flexibility and patient comfort because of the bulky head ring attached to the patient. Frameless image guidance systems that use scalp fiducial markers offer more flexibility and patient comfort but provide less stability and accuracy during drilling and biopsy needle positioning. Head-mounted robot–guided biopsies could provide the advantages of these 2 techniques without the downsides. The goal of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and safety of a robotic guidance device, affixed to the patient’s skull through a small mounting platform, for use in brain biopsy procedures.

Methods This was a retrospective study of 37 consecutive patients who presented with supratentorial lesions and underwent brain biopsy procedures in which a surgical guidance robot was used to determine clinical outcomes and technical procedural operability.

Results The portable head-mounted device was well tolerated by the patients and enabled stable drilling and needle positioning during surgery. Flexible adjustments of predefined paths and selection of new trajectories were successfully performed intraoperatively without the need for manual settings and fixations. The patients experienced no permanent deficits or infections after surgery.

Conclusions The head-mounted robot–guided approach presented here combines the stability of a bone-mounted set-up with the flexibility and tolerability of frameless systems. By reducing human interference (i.e., manual parameter settings, calibrations, and adjustments), this technology might be particularly useful in neurosurgical interventions that necessitate multiple trajectories.

Awake craniotomy to maximize glioma resection: methods and technical nuances over a 27-year period

awake craniotomy

J Neurosurg 123:325–339, 2015

Awake craniotomy is currently a useful surgical approach to help identify and preserve functional areas during cortical and subcortical tumor resections. Methodologies have evolved over time to maximize patient safety and minimize morbidity using this technique. The goal of this study is to analyze a single surgeon’s experience and the evolving methodology of awake language and sensorimotor mapping for glioma surgery.

Methods The authors retrospectively studied patients undergoing awake brain tumor surgery between 1986 and 2014. Operations for the initial 248 patients (1986–1997) were completed at the University of Washington, and the subsequent surgeries in 611 patients (1997–2014) were completed at the University of California, San Francisco. Perioperative risk factors and complications were assessed using the latter 611 cases.

Results The median patient age was 42 years (range 13–84 years). Sixty percent of patients had Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) scores of 90–100, and 40% had KPS scores less than 80. Fifty-five percent of patients underwent surgery for high-grade gliomas, 42% for low-grade gliomas, 1% for metastatic lesions, and 2% for other lesions (cortical dysplasia, encephalitis, necrosis, abscess, and hemangioma). The majority of patients were in American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) Class 1 or 2 (mild systemic disease); however, patients with severe systemic disease were not excluded from awake brain tumor surgery and represented 15% of study participants. Laryngeal mask airway was used in 8 patients (1%) and was most commonly used for large vascular tumors with more than 2 cm of mass effect. The most common sedation regimen was propofol plus remifentanil (54%); however, 42% of patients required an adjustment to the initial sedation regimen before skin incision due to patient intolerance. Mannitol was used in 54% of cases. Twelve percent of patients were active smokers at the time of surgery, which did not impact completion of the intraoperative mapping procedure. Stimulation-induced seizures occurred in 3% of patients and were rapidly terminated with ice-cold Ringer’s solution. Preoperative seizure history and tumor location were associated with an increased incidence of stimulation- induced seizures. Mapping was aborted in 3 cases (0.5%) due to intraoperative seizures (2 cases) and patient emotional intolerance (1 case). The overall perioperative complication rate was 10%.

Conclusions Based on the current best practice described here and developed from multiple regimens used over a 27-year period, it is concluded that awake brain tumor surgery can be safely performed with extremely low complication and failure rates regardless of ASA classification; body mass index; smoking status; psychiatric or emotional history; seizure frequency and duration; and tumor site, size, and pathology.

Comparative effectiveness and safety of image guidance systems in neurosurgery

AR

J Neurosurg 123:307–313, 2015

Over the last decade, image guidance systems have been widely adopted in neurosurgery. Nonetheless, the evidence supporting the use of these systems in surgery remains limited. The aim of this study was to compare simultaneously the effectiveness and safety of various image guidance systems against that of standard surgery.

Methods In this preclinical, randomized study, 50 novice surgeons were allocated to one of the following groups: 1) no image guidance, 2) triplanar display, 3) always-on solid overlay, 4) always-on wire mesh overlay, and 5) on-demand inverse realism overlay. Each participant was asked to identify a basilar tip aneurysm in a validated model head. The primary outcomes were time to task completion (in seconds) and tool path length (in mm). The secondary outcomes were recognition of an unexpected finding (i.e., a surgical clip) and subjective depth perception using a Likert scale.

Results The time to task completion and tool path length were significantly lower when using any form of image guidance compared with no image guidance (p < 0.001 and p = 0.003, respectively). The tool path distance was also lower in groups using augmented reality compared with triplanar display (p = 0.010). Always-on solid overlay resulted in the greatest inattentional blindness (20% recognition of unexpected finding). Wire mesh and on-demand overlays mitigated, but did not negate, inattentional blindness and were comparable to triplanar display (40% recognition of unexpected finding in all groups). Wire mesh and inverse realism overlays also resulted in better subjective depth perception than always-on solid overlay (p = 0.031 and p = 0.008, respectively).

Conclusions New augmented reality platforms may improve performance in less-experienced surgeons. However, all image display modalities, including existing triplanar displays, carry a risk of inattentional blindness.

Continuous subcortical motor evoked potential stimulation using the tip of an ultrasonic aspirator for the resection of motor eloquent lesions

Continuous subcortical motor evoked potential stimulation

J Neurosurg 123:301–306, 2015

Resection of a motor eloquent lesion has become safer because of intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring (IOM). Stimulation of subcortical motor evoked potentials (scMEPs) is increasingly used to optimize patient safety. So far, scMEP stimulation has been performed intermittently during resection of eloquently located lesions. Authors of the present study assessed the possibility of using a resection instrument for continuous stimulation of scMEPs.

Methods An ultrasonic surgical aspirator was attached to an IOM stimulator and was used as a monopolar subcortical stimulation probe. The effect of the aspirator’s use at different ultrasound power levels (0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%) on stimulation intensity was examined in a saline bath. Afterward monopolar stimulation with the surgical aspirator was used during the resection of subcortical lesions in the vicinity of the corticospinal tract in 14 patients in comparison with scMEP stimulation via a standard stimulation electrode. During resection, the stimulation current at which an MEP response was still measurable with subcortical stimulation using the surgical aspirator was compared with the corresponding stimulation current needed using a standard monopolar subcortical stimulation probe at the same location.

Results The use of ultrasound at different energy levels did result in a slight but irrelevant increase in stimulation energy via the tip of the surgical aspirator in the saline bath. Stimulation of scMEPs using the surgical aspirator or monopolar probe was successful and almost identical in all patients. One patient developed a new permanent neurological deficit. Transient new postoperative paresis was observed in 28% (4 of 14) of cases. Gross-total resection was achieved in 64% (9 of 14) cases and subtotal resection (> 80% of tumor mass) in 35% (5 of 14).

Conclusions Continuous motor mapping using subcortical stimulation via a surgical aspirator, in comparison with the sequential use of a standard monopolar stimulation probe, is a feasible and safe method without any disadvantages. Compared with the standard probe, the aspirator offers continuous information on the distance to the corticospinal tract.

Augmented reality–guided neurosurgery: accuracy and intraoperative application of an image projection technique

Augmented reality–guided neurosurgery- accuracy and intraoperative application of an image projection technique

J Neurosurg 123:206–211, 2015

An augmented reality system has been developed for image-guided neurosurgery to project images with regions of interest onto the patient’s head, skull, or brain surface in real time. The aim of this study was to evaluate system accuracy and to perform the first intraoperative application.

Methods Images of segmented brain tumors in different localizations and sizes were created in 10 cases and were projected to a head phantom using a video projector. Registration was performed using 5 fiducial markers. After each registration, the distance of the 5 fiducial markers from the visualized tumor borders was measured on the virtual image and on the phantom. The difference was considered a projection error. Moreover, the image projection technique was intraoperatively applied in 5 patients and was compared with a standard navigation system.

Results Augmented reality visualization of the tumors succeeded in all cases. The mean time for registration was 3.8 minutes (range 2–7 minutes). The mean projection error was 0.8 ± 0.25 mm. There were no significant differences in accuracy according to the localization and size of the tumor. Clinical feasibility and reliability of the augmented reality system could be proved intraoperatively in 5 patients (projection error 1.2 ± 0.54 mm).

Conclusions The augmented reality system is accurate and reliable for the intraoperative projection of images to the head, skull, and brain surface. The ergonomic advantage of this technique improves the planning of neurosurgical procedures and enables the surgeon to use direct visualization for image-guided neurosurgery.

Neurosurgery Department. “La Fe” University Hospital. Valencia, Spain

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