Neurosurgery Blog


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

Factors Associated With Pre- and Postoperative Seizures in 1033 Patients Undergoing Supratentorial Meningioma Resection

Neurosurgery 81:297–306, 2017

Risk factors for pre- and postoperative seizures in supratentorial meningiomas are understudied compared to other brain tumors.

OBJECTIVE: To report seizure frequency and identify factors associated with pre- and postoperative seizures in a large single-center population study of patients undergoing resection of supratentorial meningioma.

METHODS: Retrospective chart review of 1033 subjects undergoing resection of supratentorial meningioma at the author’s institution (1991-2014). Multivariate regression was used to identify variables significantly associated with pre- and postoperative seizures.

RESULTS: Preoperative seizures occurred in 234 (22.7%) subjects. At 5 years postoperative, probability of seizure freedom was 89.9% among subjects without preoperative seizures and 62.2% with preoperative seizures. Multivariate analysis identified the following predictors of preoperative seizures: presence of ≥1 cmperitumoral edema (odds ratio [OR]: 4.45, 2.55-8.50), nonskull base tumor location (OR: 2.13, 1.26-3.67), greater age (OR per unit increase: 1.03, 1.01-1.05), while presenting symptom of headache (OR: 0.50, 0.29- 0.84) or cranial nerve deficit (OR: 0.36, 0.17-0.71) decreased odds of preoperative seizures. Postoperative seizures after dischargewere associated with preoperative seizures (OR: 5.70, 2.57-13.13), in-hospital seizure (OR: 4.31, 1.28-13.67), and among patients without preoperative seizure, occurrence ofmedical or surgical complications (OR 3.39, 1.09-9.48). Perioperative anti-epileptic drug use was not associated with decreased incidence of postoperative seizures.

CONCLUSIONS: Nonskull base supratentorial meningiomaswith surrounding edema have the highest risk for preoperative seizure. Long-term follow-up showing persistent seizures in meningioma patients with preoperative seizures raises the possibility that these patients may benefit from electrocorticographic mapping of adjacent cortex and resection of noneloquent, epileptically active cortex.

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.

Surgical Approaches to the Temporal Horn: An Anatomic Analysis of White Matter Tract Interruption

Operative Neurosurgery 13:258–270, 2017

Surgical access to the temporal horn is necessary to treat tumors and vascular lesions, but is used mainly in patients with mediobasal temporal epilepsy. The surgical approaches to this cavity fall into 3 primary categories: lateral, inferior, and transsylvian. The current neurosurgical literature has underestimated the interruption of involved fiber bundles and the correlated clinical manifestations.

OBJECTIVE: To delineate the interruption of fiber bundles during the different approaches to the temporal horn.

METHODS:We simulated the lateral (trans-middle temporal gyrus), inferior (transparahippocampal gyrus), and transsylvian approaches in 20 previously frozen, formalin-fixed human brains (40 hemispheres). Fiber dissection was then done along the lateral and inferior aspects under the operating microscope. Each stage of dissection and its respective fiber tract interruption were defined.

RESULTS: The lateral (trans-middle temporal gyrus) approach interrupted “U” fibers, the superior longitudinal fasciculus (inferior arm), occipitofrontal fasciculus (ventral segment), uncinate fasciculus (dorsolateral segment), anterior commissure (posterior segment), temporopontine, inferior thalamic peduncle (posterior fibers), posterior thalamic peduncle (anterior portion), and tapetum fibers. The inferior (transparahippocampal gyrus) approach interrupted “U” fibers, the cingulum (inferior arm), and fimbria, and transected the hippocampal formation. The transsylvian approach interrupted “U”fibers (anterobasal region of the extreme capsule), the uncinate fasciculus (ventromedial segment), and anterior commissure (anterior segment), and transected the anterosuperior aspect of the amygdala.

CONCLUSION: White matter dissection improves our knowledge of the complex anatomy surrounding the temporal horn. Identifying the fiber bundles at risk during each surgical approach adds important information for choosing the appropriate surgical strategy.


Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy for Mesial Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

Neurosurgery 79:S83–S91, 2016

Approximately one-third of patients with epilepsy do not achieve adequate seizure control through medical management alone. Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) is one of the most common forms of medically refractory epilepsy referred for surgical management. Stereotactic laser amygdalohippocampotomy using magnetic resonance–guided laser interstitial thermal therapy (MRg-LITT) is an important emerging therapy for MTLE.

Initial published reports support MRg-LITT as a less invasive surgical option with a shorter hospital stay and fewer neurocognitive side effects compared with craniotomy for anterior temporal lobectomy with amygdalohippocampectomy and selective amygdalohippocampectomy.

We provide a historical overview of laser interstitial thermal therapy development and the technological advancements that led to the currently available commercial systems. Current applications of MRg-LITT for MTLE, reported outcomes, and technical issues of the surgical procedure are reviewed. Although initial reports indicate that stereotactic laser amygdalohippocampotomy may be a safe and effective therapy for medically refractory MTLE, further research is required to establish its long-term effectiveness and its cost/benefit profile.

Rates and Predictors of Seizure Freedom With Vagus Nerve Stimulation for Intractable Epilepsy


Neurosurgery 79:345–353, 2016

Neuromodulation-based treatments have become increasingly important in epilepsy treatment. Most patients with epilepsy treated with neuromodulation do not achieve complete seizure freedom, and, therefore, previous studies of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) therapy have focused instead on reduction of seizure frequency as a measure of treatment response.

OBJECTIVE: To elucidate rates and predictors of seizure freedom with VNS.

METHODS: We examined 5554 patients from the VNS therapy Patient Outcome Registry, and also performed a systematic review of the literature including 2869 patients across 78 studies.

RESULTS: Registry data revealed a progressive increase over time in seizure freedom after VNS therapy. Overall, 49% of patients responded to VNS therapy 0 to 4 months after implantation ($50% reduction seizure frequency), with 5.1% of patients becoming seizure-free, while 63% of patients were responders at 24 to 48 months, with 8.2% achieving seizure freedom. On multivariate analysis, seizure freedom was predicted by age of epilepsy onset .12 years (odds ratio [OR], 1.89; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.38- 2.58), and predominantly generalized seizure type (OR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.01-1.82), while overall response to VNS was predicted by nonlesional epilepsy (OR, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.06- 1.81). Systematic literature review results were consistent with the registry analysis: At 0 to 4 months, 40.0% of patients had responded to VNS, with 2.6% becoming seizurefree, while at last follow-up, 60.1% of individuals were responders, with 8.0% achieving seizure freedom.

CONCLUSION: Response and seizure freedom rates increase over time with VNS therapy, although complete seizure freedom is achieved in a small percentage of patients.

Seizures in supratentorial meningioma: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Meningiomas in Pregnancy- A Clinicopathologic Study of 17 Cases

J Neurosurg 124:1552–1561, 2016

Meningioma is the most common benign intracranial tumor, and patients with supratentorial meningioma frequently suffer from seizures. The rates and predictors of seizures in patients with meningioma have been significantly under-studied, even in comparison with other brain tumor types. Improved strategies for the prediction, treatment, and prevention of seizures in patients with meningioma is an important goal, because tumor-related epilepsy significantly impacts patient quality of life.

Methods: The authors performed a systematic review of PubMed for manuscripts published between January 1980 and September 2014, examining rates of pre- and postoperative seizures in supratentorial meningioma, and evaluating potential predictors of seizures with separate meta-analyses.

Results: The authors identified 39 observational case series for inclusion in the study, but no controlled trials. Preoperative seizures were observed in 29.2% of 4709 patients with supratentorial meningioma, and were significantly predicted by male sex (OR 1.74, 95% CI 1.30–2.34); an absence of headache (OR 1.77, 95% CI 1.04–3.25); peritumoral edema (OR 7.48, 95% CI 6.13–9.47); and non–skull base location (OR 1.77, 95% CI 1.04–3.25). After surgery, seizure freedom was achieved in 69.3% of 703 patients with preoperative epilepsy, and was more than twice as likely in those without peritumoral edema, although an insufficient number of studies were available for formal meta-analysis of this association. Of 1085 individuals without preoperative epilepsy who underwent resection, new postoperative seizures were seen in 12.3% of patients. No difference in the rate of new postoperative seizures was observed with or without perioperative prophylactic anticonvulsants.

Conclusions: Seizures are common in supratentorial meningioma, particularly in tumors associated with brain edema, and seizure freedom is a critical treatment goal. Favorable seizure control can be achieved with resection, but evidence does not support routine use of prophylactic anticonvulsants in patients without seizures. Limitations associated with systematic review and meta-analysis should be considered when interpreting these results.

Seizure Outcomes in Patients With Surgically Treated Cerebral Arteriovenous Malformations


Neurosurgery 77:762–768, 2015

Epilepsy is the second most common symptom in cerebral arteriovenous malformation (AVM) patients. The consecutive reduction of life quality is a clinically underrated problem because treatment usually focuses on the prevention of intracerebral hemorrhage.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate postoperative seizure outcome with the aim of more accurate counseling for postoperative seizure outcome.

METHODS: From 1985 to 2012, 293 patients with an AVM were surgically treated by J.S. One hundred twenty-six patients with preoperative seizures or epilepsy could be identified; 103 of 126 had a follow-up of at least 12 months and were included in the analysis. The different epilepsy subtypes were categorized (sporadic seizures, chronic epilepsy, drug-resistant epilepsy [DRE]). Preoperative workup and surgical technique were evaluated. Seizure outcome was analyzed by using International League Against Epilepsy classification.

RESULTS: Sporadic seizures were identified in 41% of patients (chronic epilepsy and DRE were identified in 36% and 23%, respectively). Detailed preoperative epileptological workup was done in 13%. Seizure freedom was achieved in 77% (79% at 5 years, 84% at 10 years). Outcome was significantly poorer in DRE cases. More extensive resection was performed in 11 cases with longstanding symptoms (.24 months) and resulted in better seizure outcome as well as the short duration of preoperative seizure history.

CONCLUSION: Patients presenting with AVM-associated epilepsy have a favorable seizure outcome after surgical treatment. Long-standing epilepsy and the progress into DRE markedly deteriorate the chances to obtain seizure freedom and should be considered an early factor in establishing the indication for AVM removal.

Statistical shape analysis of temporal lobe in mesial temporal sclerosis patients

Statistical shape analysis of temporal lobe in mesial temporal sclerosis patients

Acta Neurochir (2015) 157:1897–1903

Surgery is regarded as a common treatment option for patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy due to hippocampal sclerosis but sometimes deciding this diagnosis can be very difficult. We aim to investigate the shape differences in the temporal lobe of mesial temporal sclerosis epilepsy patients compared with healthy controls, investigating the side difference and, if present, assessing the clinical application of this situation.

Method The MRI scans of mesial TLE patients and controls were retrospectively reviewed. Temporal lobe data were collected from the two-dimensional digital images. Standard anthropometric landmarks were selected and marked on each digital image using TPSDIG 2.04 software. Eight anatomic landmarks were marked on images. A generalized Procrustes analysis was used to evaluate the shape difference. The shape deformation of the temporal lobe from control to patient was evaluated using the TPS method.

Results There were statistically significant TL shape differences between groups. High level deformations for the left and right side from the control to patient group were seen in the TPS graphic. The highest deformation was determined at the inferior lateral temporal midpoint of the middle temporal gyri and superior temporal landmark points of both the right and left sides.

Conclusion Our study for the first time demonstrated temporal shape differences in TLE patients using a landmark-based geometrical morphometric method by taking into consideration the topographic distribution of TL.

Seizures Outcome After Stereoelectroencephalography-Guided Thermocoagulations in Malformations of Cortical Development Poorly Accessible to Surgical Resection

Seizures Outcome After Stereoelectroencephalography-Guided Thermocoagulations in Malformations of Cortical Development Poorly Accessible to Surgical Resection

Neurosurgery 77:9–15, 2015

Radiofrequency thermocoagulation (RFTC) guided by stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) has proved to be a safe palliative method to reduce seizure frequency in patients with drug-resistant partial epilepsy. In malformation of cortical development (MCD), increasing the number of implanted electrodes over that needed for mapping of the epileptogenic zone could help to maximize RFTC efficiency.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the benefit of SEEG-guided RFTC in 14 patients suffering from drug-resistant epilepsy related to MCD located in functional cortical areas or in regions poorly accessible to surgery.

METHODS: Ten men and 4 women were treated by RFTC. Thermolesions were produced by applying a 50-V, 120-mA current for 10 to 30 seconds within the epileptogenic zone as identified by the SEEG investigation.

RESULTS: An average of 25.8 ± 17.5 thermolesions were made per procedure. The median follow-up after the procedure was 41.7 months. Sixty-four percent of the patients experienced a long-term decrease in seizure frequency of .50%, of whom 6 (43%) presented long-lasting freedom from seizure. When a focal low-voltage fast activity was present at seizure onset on SEEG recordings, 87.5% of patients were responders or seizure free. All of the patients in whom electric stimulation reproduced spontaneous seizures were responders.

CONCLUSION: Our results show the good benefit-risk ratio of the SEEG-guided procedure for patients suffering from MCD in whom surgery is risky. This study identifies 2 factors, focal low-voltage, high-frequency activity at seizure onset and lowered epileptogenic threshold in the coagulated area, that could be predictive of a favorable seizure outcome after RFTC.

Is there a risk of seizures in “preventive” awake surgery for incidental diffuse low-grade gliomas?

Is there a risk of seizures in “preventive” awake surgery for incidental diffuse low-grade gliomas?

J Neurosurg 122:1397–1405, 2015

Although a large amount of data supports resection for symptomatic diffuse low-grade glioma (LGG), the therapeutic strategy regarding incidental LGG (ILGG) is still a matter of debate. Indeed, early “preventive” surgery has recently been proposed in asymptomatic patients with LGG, after showing that the extent of resection was larger than in symptomatic patients with LGG. However, the quality of life should be preserved by avoiding both neurological deficit and epilepsy. The aim of this study was to determine the risk of seizures related to such a prophylactic surgical treatment in ILGG.

Methods The authors report a prospective series of 21 patients with ILGG who underwent awake surgery with a minimum follow-up of 20 months following resection. Data regarding clinicoradiological features, surgical procedures, and outcomes were collected and analyzed. In particular, the eventual occurrence and type of seizures in the intra- and postoperative periods were studied, as follows: early (< 3 months) and long-term (until last follow-up) periods.

Results There were no intraoperative seizures in this series. During the early postoperative period, the authors observed only a single episode of partial seizures in a patient with no antiepileptic drug (AED) prophylaxis—all other patients were given antiepileptic treatment following resection. The AEDs were discontinued in all cases, with a mean delay of 8 months after surgery (range 3–24 months). No patient had permanent neurological deficits. All 21 patients returned to an active familial, social, and professional life (working full time in all cases). Total or even “supratotal” resection (the latter meaning that a margin around the tumor visible on FLAIR-weighted MRI was removed) was achieved in 14 cases (67%). In 7 patients (33%) subtotal resection was performed, with a mean residual tumor volume of 1.5 ml (range 1–7 ml). No oncological treatment was administered in the postsurgical period. The mean follow-up after surgery was 49 months (range 20–181 months). Only 2 patients had seizures during the long-term follow-up. Indeed, due to tumor progression after incomplete resection, seizures occurred in 2 cases, 39 and 78 months postsurgery, leading to administration of AEDs and adjuvant treatment. So far, all patients are still alive and enjoy a normal life.

Conclusions: The risk of inducing seizures is very low in ILGG, and it does not represent an argument against early surgery. These data strongly support the proposal of a screening policy for LGG that will evolve toward a preventive treatment in a more systematic manner.

Intraoperative computed tomography in epilepsy surgery

Intraoperative computed tomography for intracranial electrode implantation surgery in medically refractory epilepsy

J Neurosurg 122:526–531, 2015

Accurate placement of intracranial depth and subdural electrodes is important in evaluating patients with medically refractory epilepsy for possible resection. Confirming electrode locations on postoperative CT scans does not allow for immediate replacement of malpositioned electrodes, and thus revision surgery is required in select cases. Intraoperative CT (iCT) using the Medtronic O-arm device has been performed to detect electrode locations in deep brain stimulation surgery, but its application in epilepsy surgery has not been explored. In the present study, the authors describe their institutional experience in using the O-arm to facilitate accurate placement of intracranial electrodes for epilepsy monitoring.

Methods In this retrospective study, the authors evaluated consecutive patients who had undergone subdural and/or depth electrode implantation for epilepsy monitoring between November 2010 and September 2012. The O-arm device is used to obtain iCT images, which are then merged with the preoperative planning MRI studies and reviewed by the surgical team to confirm final positioning. Minor modifications in patient positioning and operative field preparation are necessary to safely incorporate the O-arm device into routine intracranial electrode implantation surgery. The device does not obstruct surgeon access for bur hole or craniotomy surgery. Depth and subdural electrode locations are easily identified on iCT, which merge with MRI studies without difficulty, allowing the epilepsy surgical team to intraoperatively confirm lead locations.

Results Depth and subdural electrodes were implanted in 10 consecutive patients by using routine surgical techniques together with preoperative stereotactic planning and intraoperative neuronavigation. No wound infections or other surgical complications occurred. In one patient, the hippocampal depth electrode was believed to be in a suboptimal position and was repositioned before final wound closure. Additionally, 4 strip electrodes were replaced due to suboptimal positioning. Postoperative CT scans did not differ from iCT studies in the first 3 patients in the series and thus were not obtained in the final 7 patients. Overall, operative time was extended by approximately 10–15 minutes for O-arm positioning, less than 1 minute for image acquisition, and approximately 10 minutes for image transfer, fusion, and intraoperative analysis (total time 21–26 minutes).

Conclusions The O-arm device can be easily incorporated into routine intracranial electrode implantation surgery in standard-sized operating rooms. The technique provides accurate 3D visualization of depth and subdural electrode contacts, and the intraoperative images can be easily merged with preoperative MRI studies to confirm lead positions before final wound closure. Intraoperative CT obviates the need for routine postoperative CT and has the potential to improve the accuracy of intracranial electroencephalography recordings and may reduce the necessity for revision surgery.

Volumetric CT analysis as a predictor of seizure outcome following temporal lobectomy

Volumetric brain analysis in neurosurgery- Part 3

J Neurosurg Pediatr 15:133–143, 2015

The incidence of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) due to mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS) can be high in developing countries. Current diagnosis of MTS relies on structural MRI, which is generally unavailable in developing world settings. Given widespread effects on temporal lobe structure beyond hippocampal atrophy in TLE, the authors propose that CT volumetric analysis can be used in patient selection to help predict outcomes following resection.

METHODS Ten pediatric patients received preoperative CT scans and temporal resections at the CURE Children’s Hospital of Uganda. Engel classification of seizure control was determined 12 months postoperatively. Temporal lobe volumes were measured from CT and from normative MR images using the Cavalieri method. Whole brain and fluid volumes were measured using particle filter segmentation. Linear discrimination analysis (LDA) was used to classify seizure outcome by temporal lobe volumes and normalized brain volume.

RESULTS Epilepsy patients showed normal to small brain volumes and small temporal lobes bilaterally. A multivariate measure of the volume of each temporal lobe separated patients who were seizure free (Engel Class IA) from those with incomplete seizure control (Engel Class IB/IIB) with LDA (p < 0.01). Temporal lobe volumes also separate normal subjects, patients with Engel Class IA outcomes, and patients with Class IB/IIB outcomes (p < 0.01). Additionally, the authors demonstrated that age-normalized whole brain volume, in combination with temporal lobe volumes, may further improve outcome prediction (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS This study shows strong evidence that temporal lobe and brain volume can be predictive of seizure outcome following temporal lobe resection, and that volumetric CT analysis of the temporal lobe may be feasible in lieu of structural MRI when the latter is unavailable. Furthermore, since the authors’ methods are modality independent, these findings suggest that temporal lobe and normative brain volumes may further be useful in the selection of patients for temporal lobe resection when structural MRI is available.

The stereotactic approach for mapping epileptic networks


J Neurosurg 121:1239–1246, 2014

Stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) is a methodology that permits accurate 3D in vivo electroclinical recordings of epileptiform activity. Among other general indications for invasive intracranial electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring, its advantages include access to deep cortical structures, its ability to localize the epileptogenic zone when subdural grids have failed to do so, and its utility in the context of possible multifocal seizure onsets with the need for bihemispheric explorations. In this context, the authors present a brief historical overview of the technique and report on their experience with 2 SEEG techniques (conventional Leksell frame-based stereotaxy and frameless stereotaxy under robotic guidance) for the purpose of invasively monitoring difficult-to-localize refractory focal epilepsy.

Methods. Over a period of 4 years, the authors prospectively identified 200 patients with refractory epilepsy who collectively underwent 2663 tailored SEEG electrode implantations for invasive intracranial EEG monitoring and extraoperative mapping. The first 122 patients underwent conventional Leksell frame-based SEEG electrode placement; the remaining 78 patients underwent frameless stereotaxy under robotic guidance, following acquisition of a stereotactic ROSA robotic device at the authors’ institution. Electrodes were placed according to a preimplantation hypothesis of the presumed epileptogenic zone, based on a standardized preoperative workup including video-EEG monitoring, MRI, PET, ictal SPECT, and neuropsychological assessment. Demographic features, seizure semiology, number and location of implanted SEEG electrodes, and location of the epileptogenic zone were recorded and analyzed for all patients. For patients undergoing subsequent craniotomy for resection, the type of resection and procedure-related complications were prospectively recorded. These results were analyzed and correlated with pathological diagnosis and postoperative seizure outcomes.

Results. The epileptogenic zone was confirmed by SEEG in 154 patients (77%), of which 134 (87%) underwent subsequent craniotomy for epileptogenic zone resection. Within this cohort, 90 patients had a minimum follow-up of at least 12 months; therein, 61 patients (67.8%) remained seizure free, with an average follow-up period of 2.4 years. The most common pathological diagnosis was focal cortical dysplasia Type I (55 patients, 61.1%). Per electrode, the surgical complications included wound infection (0.08%), hemorrhagic complications (0.08%), and a transient neurological deficit (0.04%) in a total of 5 patients (2.5%). One patient (0.5%) ultimately died due to intracerebral hematoma directly ensuing from SEEG electrode placement.

Conclusions. Based on these results, SEEG methodology is safe, reliable, and effective. It is associated with minimal morbidity and mortality, and serves as a practical, minimally invasive approach to extraoperative localization of the epileptogenic zone in patients with refractory epilepsy.

Anticonvulsant prophylaxis for brain tumor surgery

Seizures frequency

J Neurosurg 121:1139–1147, 2014

Patients who undergo craniotomy for brain tumor resection are prone to experiencing seizures, which can have debilitating medical, neurological, and psychosocial effects.

A controversial issue in neurosurgery is the common practice of administering perioperative anticonvulsant prophylaxis to these patients despite a paucity of supporting data in the literature. The foreseeable benefits of this strategy must be balanced against potential adverse effects and interactions with critical medications such as chemotherapeutic agents and corticosteroids. Multiple disparate metaanalyses have been published on this topic but have not been applied into clinical practice, and, instead, personal preference frequently determines practice patterns in this area of management.

Therefore, to select the current best available evidence to guide clinical decision making, the literature was evaluated to identify meta-analyses that investigated the efficacy and/or safety of anticonvulsant prophylaxis in this patient population. Six meta-analyses published between 1996 and 2011 were included in the present study.

The Quality of Reporting of Meta-analyses and Oxman-Guyatt methodological quality assessment tools were used to score these meta-analyses, and the Jadad decision algorithm was applied to determine the highest-quality meta-analysis. According to this analysis, 2 metaanalyses were deemed to be the current best available evidence, both of which conclude that prophylactic treatment does not improve seizure control in these patients.

Therefore, this management strategy should not be routinely used.

Tailored Unilobar and Multilobar Resections for Orbitofrontal-Plus Epilepsy

Tailored Unilobar and Multilobar Resections for Orbitofrontal-Plus Epilepsy

Neurosurgery 75:388–397, 2014

Surgery for frontal lobe epilepsy often has poor results, likely because of incomplete resection of the epileptogenic zone.

OBJECTIVE: To present our experience with a series of patients manifesting 2 different anatomo-electro-clinical patterns of refractory orbitofrontal epilepsy, necessitating different surgical approaches for resection in each group.

METHODS: Eleven patients with refractory epilepsy involving the orbitofrontal region were consecutively identified over 3 years in whom stereoelectroencephalography identified the epileptogenic zone. All patients underwent preoperative evaluation, stereoelectroencephalography, and postoperative magnetic resonance imaging. Demographic features, seizure semiology, imaging characteristics, location of the epileptogenic zone, surgical resection site, and pathological diagnosis were analyzed. Surgical outcome was correlated with type of resection.

RESULTS: Five patients exhibited orbitofrontal plus frontal epilepsy with the epileptogenic zone consistently residing in the frontal lobe; after surgery, 4 patients were free of disabling seizures (Engel I) and 1 patient improved (Engel II). The remaining 6 patients had multilobar epilepsy with the epileptogenic zone located in the orbitofrontal cortex associated with the temporal polar region (orbitofrontal plus temporal polar epilepsy). After surgery, all 6 patients were free of disabling seizures (Engel I). Pathology confirmed focal cortical dysplasia in all patients. We report no complications or mortalities in this series.

CONCLUSION: Our findings highlight the importance of differentiating between orbitofrontal plus frontal and orbitofrontal plus temporal polar epilepsy in patients afflicted with seizures involving the orbitofrontal cortex. For identified cases of orbitofrontal plus temporal polar epilepsy, a multilobar resection including the temporal pole may lead to improved postoperative outcomes with minimal morbidity or mortality.

Robot-Assisted Stereotactic Laser Ablation in Medically Intractable Epilepsy


Operative Neurosurgery 10:167–173, 2014

Stereotactic laser ablation offers an advantage over open surgical procedures for treatment of epileptic foci, tumors, and other brain pathology. Robotassisted stereotactic laser ablation could offer an accurate, efficient, minimally invasive, and safe method for placement of an ablation catheter into the target.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the feasibility of placement of a stereotactic laser ablation catheter into a brain lesion with the use of robotic assistance, via a safe, accurate, efficient, and minimally invasive manner.

METHODS: A laser ablation catheter (Visualase, Inc) was placed by using robotic guidance (ROSA, Medtech Surgical, Inc) under general anesthesia into a localized epileptogenic periventricular heterotopic lesion in a 19-year-old woman with 10-year refractory focal seizure history. The laser applicator (1.65 mm diameter) position was confirmed by using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Ablation using the Visualase system was performed under multiplanar imaging with real-time thermal imaging and treatment estimates in each plane. A postablation MRI sequence (T1 postgadolinium contrast injection) was used to immediately confirm the ablation. RESULTS: MRI showed accurate skin entry point and trajectory, with the applicator advanced to the lesion’s distal boundary. Ablation was accomplished in less than 3 minutes of heating. The overall procedure, from time of skin incision to end of last ablation, was approximately 90 minutes. After confirmation of proper lesioning by using a T1 contrast-enhanced MRI, the applicator was removed, and the incision was closed using a single stitch. No hemorrhage or other untoward complication was visualized. The patient awoke without any complication, was observed overnight after admitting to a regular floor bed, and was discharged to home the following day.

CONCLUSION: This technique, using a combination of Visualase laser ablation, ROSA robot, and intraoperative MRI, facilitated a safe, efficacious, efficient, and minimally invasive approach that could be used for placement of 1 or multiple electrodes in the future.

Fifty Consecutive Hemispherectomies

50 Hemispherectomies

Neurosurgery 74:182–195, 2014

Techniques for achieving hemispheric disconnection in patients with epilepsy continue to evolve.

OBJECTIVE: To review the outcomes of the first 50 hemispherectomy surgeries performed by a single surgeon with an emphasis on outcomes, complications, and how these results led to changes in practice.

METHODS: The first 50 hemispherectomy cases performed by the lead author were identified from a prospectively maintained database. Patient demographics, surgical details, clinical outcomes, and complications were critically reviewed.

RESULTS: From 2004 to 2012, 50 patients underwent hemispherectomy surgery (mean follow-up time, 3.5 years). Modified lateral hemispherotomy became the preferred technique and was performed on 44 patients. Forty patients (80%) achieved complete seizure freedom (Engel I). Presurgical and postsurgical neuropsychological evaluations demonstrated cognitive stability. Two cases were performed for palliation only. Previous hemispherectomy surgery was associated with worsened seizure outcome (2 of 6 seizure free; P .005). The use of Avitene was associated with a higher incidence of postoperative hydrocephalus (56% vs 18%; P = .03). In modified lateral hemispherotomy patients without the use of Avitene, the incidence of hydrocephalus was 13%. Complications included infection (n = 3), incomplete disconnection requiring reoperation (n = 1), reversible ischemic neurological deficit (n = 1), and craniosynostosis (n = 1). There were no (unanticipated) permanent neurological deficits or deaths. Minor technique modifications were made in response to specific complications.

CONCLUSION: The modified lateral hemispherotomy is effective and safe for both initial and revision hemispherectomy surgery. Avitene use appears to result in a greater incidence of postoperative hydrocephalus.

Surgery for low-grade glioma infiltrating the central cerebral region

Surgery for low-grade glioma infiltrating the central cerebral region

J Neurosurg 119:318–323, 2013

A main concern with regard to surgery for low-grade glioma (LGG, WHO Grade II) is maintenance of the patient’s functional integrity. This concern is particularly relevant for gliomas in the central region, where damage can have grave repercussions. The authors evaluated postsurgical outcomes with regard to neurological deficits, seizures, and quality of life.

Methods. Outcomes were compared for 33 patients with central LGG (central cohort) and a control cohort of 31 patients with frontal LGG (frontal cohort), all of whom had had medically intractable seizures before undergoing surgery with mapping while awake. All surgeries were performed in the period from February 2007 through April 2010 at the same institution.

Results. For the central cohort, the median extent of resection was 92% (range 80%–97%), and for the frontal cohort, the median extent of resection was 93% (range 83%–98%; p = 1.0). Although the rate of mild neurological deficits was similar for both groups, seizure freedom (Engel Class I) was achieved for only 4 (12.1%) of 33 patients in the central cohort compared with 26 (83.9%) of 31 patients in the frontal cohort (p < 0.0001). The rate of return to work was lower for patients in the central cohort (4 [12.1%] of 33) than for the patients in the frontal cohort (28 [90.3%] of 31; p < 0.0001).

Conclusions. Resection of central LGG is feasible and safe when appropriate intraoperative mapping is used. However, seizure control for these patients remains poor, a finding that contrasts markedly with seizure control for patients in the frontal cohort and with that reported in the literature. For patients with central LGG, poor seizure control ultimately determines quality of life because most will not be able to return to work.

Risk factor analysis of the development of new neurological deficits following supplementary motor area resection

Supplementary motor area

J Neurosurg 119:7–14, 2013

Supplementary motor area (SMA) resection often induces postoperative contralateral hemiparesis or speech disturbance. This study was performed to assess the neurological impairments that often follow SMA resection and to assess the risk factors associated with these postoperative deficits.

Methods. The records for patients who had undergone SMA resection for pharmacologically intractable epilepsy between 1994 and 2010 were gleaned from an epilepsy surgery database and retrospectively reviewed in this study.

Results. Forty-three patients with pharmacologically intractable epilepsy underwent SMA resection with intraoperative cortical stimulation and mapping while under awake anesthesia. The mean patient age was 31.7 years (range 15–63 years), and the mean duration and frequency of seizures were 10.4 years (range 0.1–30 years) and 14.6 per month (range 0.1–150 per month), respectively. Pathological examination of the brain revealed cortical dysplasia in 18 patients (41.9%), tumors in 16 patients (37.2%), and other lesions in 9 patients (20.9%). The mean duration of the follow-up period was 84.0 months (range 24–169 months). After SMA resection, 23 patients (53.5%) experienced neurological deficits. Three patients (7.0%) experienced permanent deficits, and 20 (46.5%) experienced symptoms that were transient. All permanent deficits involved contralateral weakness, whereas the transient symptoms patients experienced were varied, including contralateral weaknesses in 15, apraxia in 1, sensory disturbances in 1, and dysphasia in 6. Thirteen patients recovered completely within 1 month. Univariate analysis revealed that resection of the SMA proper, a shorter lifetime seizure history (< 10 years), and resection of the cingulate gyrus in addition to the SMA were associated with the development of neurological deficits (p = 0.078, 0.069, and 0.023, respectively). Cingulate gyrus resection was the only risk factor identified on multivariate analysis (p = 0.027, OR 6.530, 95% CI 1.234–34.562).

Conclusions. Resection of the cingulate gyrus in addition to the SMA was significantly associated with the development of postoperative neurological impairment.

Tissue localization during resective epilepsy surgery

Tissue localization

Neurosurg Focus 34 (6):E8, 2013

Imaging-guided surgery (IGS) systems are widely used in neurosurgical practice. During epilepsy surgery, the authors routinely use IGS landmarks to localize intracranial electrodes and/or specific brain regions. The authors have developed a technique to coregister these landmarks with pre- and postoperative scans and the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) standard space brain MRI to allow 1) localization and identification of tissue anatomy; and 2) identification of Brodmann areas (BAs) of the tissue resected during epilepsy surgery. Tracking tissue in this fashion allows for better correlation of patient outcome to clinical factors, functional neuroimaging findings, and pathological characteristics and molecular studies of resected tissue.

Methods. Tissue samples were collected in 21 patients. Coordinates from intraoperative tissue localization were downloaded from the IGS system and transformed into patient space, as defined by preoperative high-resolution T1-weighted MRI volume. Tissue landmarks in patient space were then transformed into MNI standard space for identification of the BAs of the tissue samples.

Results. Anatomical locations of resected tissue were identified from the intraoperative resection landmarks. The BAs were identified for 17 of the 21 patients. The remaining patients had abnormal brain anatomy that could not be meaningfully coregistered with the MNI standard brain without causing extensive distortion.

Conclusions. This coregistration and landmark tracking technique allows localization of tissue that is resected from patients with epilepsy and identification of the BAs for each resected region. The ability to perform tissue localization allows investigators to relate preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative functional and anatomical brain imaging to better understand patient outcomes, improve patient safety, and aid in research.

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


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