A focal brain-cooling device as an alternative to electrical stimulation for language mapping during awake craniotomy

J Neurosurg Case Lessons 2(2):CASE21131, 2021

Functional mapping in awake craniotomy has the potential risk of electrical stimulation-related seizure. The authors have developed a novel mapping technique using a brain-cooling device. The cooling probe is cylindrical in shape with a thermoelectric cooling plate (10  10 mm) at the bottom. A proportional integration and differentiation-controlled system adjusts the temperature accurately (Japan patent no. P5688666). The authors used it in two patients with glioblastoma. Broca’s area was identified by electrical stimulation, and then the cooling probe set at 5°C was attempted on it.

OBSERVATIONS Electrocorticogram was suppressed, and the temperature dropped to 8°C in 50 sec. A positive aphasic reaction was reproduced on Broca’s area at a latency of 7 sec. A negative reaction appeared on the adjacent cortices despite the temperature decrease. The sensitivity and specificity were 60% and 100%, respectively. No seizures or other adverse events related to the cooling were recognized, and no histological damage to the cooled cortex was observed.

LESSONS The cooling probe suppressed topographical brain function selectively and reversibly. Awake functional mapping based on thermal neuromodulation technology could substitute or compensate for the conventional electrical mapping.