Insular glioma surgery: an evolution of thought and practice


J Neurosurg 130:9–16, 2019

The goal of this article is to review the history of surgery for low- and high-grade gliomas located within the insula with particular focus on microsurgical technique, anatomical considerations, survival, and postoperative morbidity.

METHODS The authors reviewed the literature for published reports focused on insular region anatomy, neurophysiol- ogy, surgical approaches, and outcomes for adults with World Health Organization grade II–IV gliomas.

RESULTS While originally considered to pose too great a risk, insular glioma surgery can be performed safely due to the collective efforts of many individuals. Similar to resection of gliomas located within other cortical regions, maximal resection of gliomas within the insula offers patients greater survival time and superior seizure control for both newly diagnosed and recurrent tumors in this region. The identification and the preservation of M2 perforating and lateral len- ticulostriate arteries are critical steps to preventing internal capsule stroke and hemiparesis. The transcortical approach and intraoperative mapping are useful tools to maximize safety.

CONCLUSIONS The insula’s proximity to middle cerebral and lenticulostriate arteries, primary motor areas, and perisyl- vian language areas makes accessing and resecting gliomas in this region challenging. Maximal safe resection of insular gliomas not only is possible but also is associated with excellent outcomes and should be considered for all patients with low- and high-grade gliomas in this area.

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