Exoscope improves visualization and extent of hippocampal resection in temporal lobectomy

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:259–263

Anterior temporal lobectomy (ATL) is a safe and well-validated procedure in the treatment of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), but is a challenging technique to master and still confers a risk of morbidity and mortality due to the complex anatomy of the mesial temporal lobe structures. Automated robotic 3D exoscopes have been developed to address limitations traditionally associated with microscopic visualization, allowing for ergonomic, high-definition 3D visualization with hands-free control of the robot. Given the potential advantages of using such a system for visualization of complex anatomy seen during mesial structure resection in ATL, this group sought to investigate impact on the percentage of hippocampal resection in both exoscope and microscope guided procedures.

Methods We conducted a retrospective analysis of 20 consecutive patients undergoing standard ATL for treatment of medically refractory TLE at our institution. Using pre-operative and post-operative imaging, the coronal plane cuts in which either the head, body, or tail of the hippocampus appeared were counted. The number of cuts in which the hippocampus appeared were multiplied by slice thickness to estimate hippocampal length.

Results Mean percentage of hippocampal resection was 61.1 (SD 13.1) and 76.5 (SD 6.5) for microscope and exoscope visualization, respectively (p = 0.0037).

Conclusion Use of exoscope for mesial resection during ATL has provided good visualization for those in the operating room and the potential for a safe increase in hippocampal resection in our series. Further investigation of its applications should be evaluated to see if it will improve outcomes.