Surgical strategy to avoid ischemic complications of the pyramidal tract in resective epilepsy surgery of the insula

J Neurosurg 128:1173–1177, 2018

Surgical treatment of the insula is notorious for its high probability of motor complications, particularly when resecting the superoposterior part. Ischemic damage to the pyramidal tract in the corona radiata has been regarded as the cause of these complications, resulting from occlusion of the perforating arteries to the pyramidal tract through the insular cortex. The authors describe a strategy in which a small piece of gray matter is spared at the bottom of the periinsular sulcus, where the perforating arteries pass en route to the pyramidal tract, in order to avoid these complications.

This method was successfully applied in 3 patients harboring focal cortical dysplasia in the posterior insula and frontoparietal operculum surrounding the periinsular sulcus. None of the patients developed permanent postoperative motor deficits, and seizure control was achieved in all 3 cases.

The method described in this paper can be adopted for functional preservation of the pyramidal tract in the corona radiata when resecting epileptogenic pathologies involving insular and opercular regions.