Dissociation of Broca’s area from Broca’s aphasia in patients undergoing neurosurgical resections

J Neurosurg 138:847–857, 2023

Broca’s aphasia is a syndrome of impaired fluency with retained comprehension. The authors used an unbiased algorithm to examine which neuroanatomical areas are most likely to result in Broca’s aphasia following surgical lesions.

METHODS Patients were prospectively evaluated with standardized language batteries before and after surgery. Broca’s area was defined anatomically as the pars opercularis and triangularis of the inferior frontal gyrus. Broca’s aphasia was defined by the Western Aphasia Battery language assessment. Resections were outlined from MRI scans to construct 3D volumes of interest. These were aligned using a nonlinear transformation to Montreal Neurological Institute brain space. A voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping (VLSM) algorithm was used to test for areas statistically associated with Broca’s aphasia when incorporated into a resection, as well as areas associated with deficits in fluency independent of Western Aphasia Battery classification. Postoperative MRI scans were reviewed in blinded fashion to estimate the percentage resection of Broca’s area compared to areas identified using the VLSM algorithm.

RESULTS A total of 289 patients had early language evaluations, of whom 19 had postoperative Broca’s aphasia. VLSM analysis revealed an area that was highly correlated (p < 0.001) with Broca’s aphasia, spanning ventral sensorimotor cortex and supramarginal gyri, as well as extending into subcortical white matter tracts. Reduced fluency scores were significantly associated with an overlapping region of interest. The fluency score was negatively correlated with fraction of resected precentral, postcentral, and supramarginal components of the VLSM area.

CONCLUSIONS Broca’s aphasia does not typically arise from neurosurgical resections in Broca’s area. When Broca’s aphasia does occur after surgery, it is typically in the early postoperative period, improves by 1 month, and is associated with resections of ventral sensorimotor cortex and supramarginal gyri.


A system of anatomical triangles defining dissection routes to brainstem cavernous malformations

J Neurosurg 138:768–784, 2023

Anatomical triangles defined by intersecting neurovascular structures delineate surgical routes to pathological targets and guide neurosurgeons during dissection steps. Collections or systems of anatomical triangles have been integrated into skull base surgery to help surgeons navigate complex regions such as the cavernous sinus. The authors present a system of triangles specifically intended for resection of brainstem cavernous malformations (BSCMs). This system of triangles is complementary to the authors’ BSCM taxonomy that defines dissection routes to these lesions.

METHODS The anatomical triangle through which a BSCM was resected microsurgically was determined for the patients treated during a 23-year period who had both brain MRI and intraoperative photographs or videos available for review.

RESULTS Of 183 patients who met the inclusion criteria, 50 had midbrain lesions (27%), 102 had pontine lesions (56%), and 31 had medullary lesions (17%). The craniotomies used to resect these BSCMs included the extended retrosigmoid (66 [36.1%]), midline suboccipital (46 [25.1%]), far lateral (30 [16.4%]), pterional/orbitozygomatic (17 [9.3%]), torcular (8 [4.4%]), and lateral suboccipital (8 [4.4%]) approaches. The anatomical triangles through which the BSCMs were most frequently resected were the interlobular (37 [20.2%]), vallecular (32 [17.5%]), vagoaccessory (30 [16.4%]), supracerebellar-infratrochlear (16 [8.7%]), subtonsillar (14 [7.7%]), oculomotor-tentorial (11 [6.0%]), infragalenic (8 [4.4%]), and supracerebellar-supratrochlear (8 [4.4%]) triangles. New but infrequently used triangles included the vertebrobasilar junctional (1 [0.5%]), supratrigeminal (3 [1.6%]), and infratrigeminal (5 [2.7%]) triangles. Overall, 15 BSCM subtypes were exposed through 6 craniotomies, and the approach was redirected to the BSCM by one of the 14 triangles paired with the BSCM subtype.

CONCLUSIONS A system of BSCM triangles, including 9 newly defined triangles, was introduced to guide dissection to these lesions. The use of an anatomical triangle better defines the pathway taken through the craniotomy to the lesion and refines the conceptualization of surgical approaches. The triangle concept and the BSCM triangle system increase the precision of dissection through subarachnoid corridors, enhance microsurgical execution, and potentially improve patient outcomes.

Anatomical study of the thoracolumbar radiculomedullary arteries, including the Adamkiewicz artery and supporting radiculomedullary arteries

J Neurosurg Spine 38:233–241, 2023

OBJECTIVE The aim of this paper was to identify and characterize all the segmental radiculomedullary arteries (RMAs) that supply the thoracic and lumbar spinal cord.

METHODS All RMAs from T4 to L5 were studied systematically in 25 cadaveric specimens. The RMA with the greatest diameter in each specimen was termed the artery of Adamkiewicz (AKA). Other supporting RMAs were also identified and characterized.

RESULTS A total of 27 AKAs were found in 25 specimens. Twenty-two AKAs (81%) originated from a left thoracic or a left lumbar radicular branch, and 5 (19%) arose from the right. Two specimens (8%) had two AKAs each: one specimen with two AKAs on the left side and the other specimen with one AKA on each side. Eight cadaveric specimens (32%) had 10 additional RMAs; among those, a single additional RMA was found in 6 specimens (75%), and 2 additional RMAs were found in each of the remaining 2 specimens (25%). Of those specimens with a single additional RMA, the supporting RMA was ipsilateral to the AKA in 5 specimens (83%) and contralateral in only 1 specimen (17%). The specimens containing 2 additional RMAs were all (100%) ipsilateral to their respective AKAs.

CONCLUSIONS The segmental RMAs supplying the thoracic and lumbar spinal cord can be unilateral, bilateral, or multiple. Multiple AKAs or additional RMAs supplying a single anterior spinal artery are common and should be considered when dealing with the spinal cord at the thoracolumbar level.

Nucleus accumbens: a systematic review of neural circuitry and clinical studies in healthy and pathological states

J Neurosurg 138:337–346, 2023

The nucleus accumbens (NAcc) of the ventral striatum is critically involved in goal- and reward-based behavior. Structural and functional abnormalities of the NAcc or its associated neural systems are involved in neurological and psychiatric disorders. Studies of neural circuitry have shed light on the subtleties of the structural and functional derangements of the NAcc across various diseases. In this systematic review, the authors sought to identify human studies involving the NAcc and provide a synthesis of the literature on the known circuity of the NAcc in healthy and diseased states, as well as the clinical outcomes following neuromodulation.

METHODS A systematic review was conducted using the PubMed, Embase, and Scopus databases. Neuroimaging studies that reported on neural circuitry related to the human NAcc with sample sizes greater than 5 patients were included. Demographic data, aim, design and duration, participants, and clinical and neurocircuitry details and outcomes of the studies were extracted.

RESULTS Of 3591 resultant articles, 123 were included. The NAcc and its corticolimbic connections to other brain regions, such as the prefrontal cortex, are largely involved in reward and pain processes, with distinct functional circuitry between the shell and core in healthy patients. There is heterogeneity between clinical studies with regard to the NAcc indirect targeting coordinates, methods for postoperative confirmation, and blinded trial design. Neuromodulation studies provided promising clinical results in the context of addiction and substance misuse, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and mood disorders. The most common complications were impaired memory or concentration, and a notable serious complication was hypomania.

CONCLUSIONS The functional diversity of the NAcc highlights the importance of studying the NAcc in healthy and pathological states. The results of this review suggest that NAcc neuromodulation has been attempted in the management of diverse psychiatric indications. There is promising, emerging evidence that the NAcc may be an effective target for specific reward- or pain-based pathologies with a reasonable risk profile.

A taxonomy for brainstem cavernous malformations: subtypes of medullary lesions

J Neurosurg 138:128–146, 2023

Medullary cavernous malformations are the least common of the brainstem cavernous malformations (BSCMs), accounting for only 14% of lesions in the authors’ surgical experience. In this article, a novel taxonomy for these lesions is proposed based on clinical presentation and anatomical location.

METHODS The taxonomy system was applied to a large 2-surgeon experience over a 30-year period (1990–2019). Of 601 patients who underwent microsurgical resection of BSCMs, 551 were identified who had the clinical and radiological information needed for inclusion. These 551 patients were classified by lesion location: midbrain (151 [27%]), pons (323 [59%]), and medulla (77 [14%]). Medullary lesions were subtyped on the basis of their predominant surface presentation. Neurological outcomes were assessed according to the modified Rankin Scale (mRS), with an mRS score ≤ 2 defined as favorable.

RESULTS Five distinct subtypes were defined for the 77 medullary BSCMs: pyramidal (3 [3.9%]), olivary (35 [46%]), cuneate (24 [31%]), gracile (5 [6.5%]), and trigonal (10 [13%]). Pyramidal lesions are located in the anterior medulla and were associated with hemiparesis and hypoglossal nerve palsy. Olivary lesions are found in the anterolateral medulla and were associated with ataxia. Cuneate lesions are located in the posterolateral medulla and were associated with ipsilateral upper-extremity sensory deficits. Gracile lesions are located outside the fourth ventricle in the posteroinferior medulla and were associated with ipsilateral lower-extremity sensory deficits. Trigonal lesions in the ventricular floor were associated with nausea, vomiting, and diplopia. A single surgical approach was preferred (> 90% of cases) for each medullary subtype: the far lateral approach for pyramidal and olivary lesions, the suboccipital-telovelar approach for cuneate lesions, the suboccipital-transcisterna magna approach for gracile lesions, and the suboccipital-transventricular approach for trigonal lesions. Of these 77 patients for whom follow-up data were available (n = 73), 63 (86%) had favorable outcomes and 67 (92%) had unchanged or improved functional status.

CONCLUSIONS This study confirms that the constellation of neurological signs and symptoms associated with a hemorrhagic medullary BSCM subtype is useful for defining the BSCM clinically according to a neurologically recognizable syndrome at the bedside. The proposed taxonomical classifications may be used to guide the selection of surgical approaches, which may enhance the consistency of clinical communications and help improve patient outcomes.

Microsurgical anatomy and insular connectivity of the cerebral opercula

J Neurosurg 137:1509–1523, 2022

Radiological, anatomical, and electrophysiological studies have shown the insula and cerebral opercula to have extremely high functionality. Because of this complexity, interventions in this region cause higher morbidity compared to those in other areas of the brain. In most early studies of the insula and white matter pathways, insular dissection was begun after the opercula were removed. In this study, the authors examined the insula and deep white matter pathways to evaluate the insula as a whole with the surrounding opercula.

METHODS Twenty formalin-fixed adult cerebral hemispheres were studied using fiber microdissection techniques and examination of sectional anatomy. Dissections were performed from lateral to medial, medial to lateral, inferior to superior, and superior to inferior. A silicone brain model was used to show the normal gyral anatomy. Sections and fibers found at every stage of dissection were photographed with a professional camera. MRI tractography studies were used to aid understanding of the dissections.

RESULTS The relationships between the insula and cerebral opercula were investigated in detail through multiple dissections and sections. The relationship of the extreme and external capsules with the surrounding opercula and the fronto-occipital fasciculus with the fronto-orbital operculum was demonstrated. These findings were correlated with the tractography studies. Fibers of the extreme capsule connect the medial aspect of the opercula with the insula through the peri-insular sulcus. Medial to lateral dissections were followed with the removal of the central core structures, and in the last step, the medial surface of the cerebral opercula was evaluated in detail.

CONCLUSIONS This anatomical study clarifies our understanding of the insula and cerebral opercula, which have complex anatomical and functional networks. This study also brings a new perspective to the connection of the insula and cerebral opercula via the extreme and external capsules.

Overview of the microanatomy of the human brainstem in relation to the safe entry zones

J Neurosurg 137:1524–1534, 2022

The primary objective of this anatomical study was to apply innovative imaging techniques to increase understanding of the microanatomical structures of the brainstem related to safe entry zones. The authors hypothesized that such a high-detail overview would enhance neurosurgeons’ abilities to approach and define anatomical safe entry zones for use with microsurgical resection techniques for intrinsic brainstem lesions.

METHODS The brainstems of 13 cadavers were studied with polarized light imaging (PLI) and 11.7-T MRI. The brainstem was divided into 3 compartments—mesencephalon, pons, and medulla—for evaluation with MRI. Tissue was further sectioned to 100 μm with a microtome. MATLAB was used for further data processing. Segmentation of the internal structures of the brainstem was performed with the BigBrain database.

RESULTS Thirteen entry zones were reported and assessed for their safety, including the anterior mesencephalic zone, lateral mesencephalic sulcus, interpeduncular zone, intercollicular region, supratrigeminal zone, peritrigeminal zone, lateral pontine zone, median sulcus, infracollicular zone, supracollicular zone, olivary zone, lateral medullary zone, and anterolateral sulcus. The microanatomy, safety, and approaches are discussed.

CONCLUSIONS PLI and 11.7-T MRI data show that a neurosurgeon possibly does not need to consider the microanatomical structures that would not be visible on conventional MRI and tractography when entering the mentioned safe entry zones. However, the detailed anatomical images may help neurosurgeons increase their understanding of the internal architecture of the human brainstem, which in turn could lead to safer neurosurgical intervention.

Three-Dimensional Modeling and Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Simulation of Fiber Dissection of the Cerebellum and Brainstem

Surgeons must understand the complex anatomy of the cerebellum and brainstem and their 3-dimensional (3D) relationships with each other for surgery to be successful. To the best of our knowledge, there have been no fiber dissection studies combined with 3D models, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) of the structure of the cerebellum and brainstem. In this study, we created freely accessible AR and VR simulations and 3D models of the cerebellum and brainstem.

OBJECTIVE: To create 3D models and AR and VR simulations of cadaveric dissections of the human cerebellum and brainstem and to examine the 3D relationships of these structures.

METHODS: Ten cadaveric cerebellum and brainstem specimens were prepared in accordance with the Klingler’s method. The cerebellum and brainstem were dissected under the operating microscope, and 2-dimensional and 3D images were captured at every stage. With a photogrammetry tool (Qlone, EyeCue Vision Technologies, Ltd.), AR and VR simulations and 3D models were created by combining several 2-dimensional pictures.

RESULTS: For the first time reported in the literature, high-resolution, easily accessible, free 3D models and AR and VR simulations of cerebellum and brainstem dissections were created.

CONCLUSION: Fiber dissection of the cerebellum-brainstem complex and 3D models with AR and VR simulations are a useful addition to the goal of training neurosurgeons worldwide.

A population-normalized tractographic fiber atlas of the anterior limb of the internal capsule: relevance to surgical neuromodulation

J Neurosurg 137:1278–1288, 2022

The anterior limb of the internal capsule (ALIC) is a white matter highway that connects several subcortical structures to the prefrontal cortex. Although surgical interventions in the ALIC have been used to treat a number of psychiatric illnesses, there is significant debate regarding what fibers are targeted for intervention. This debate is partially due to an incomplete understanding of connectivity in the region.

METHODS To better understand this complex structure, the authors employed a novel tractography-based approach to examine how fibers from the thalamus and subthalamic nucleus (STN) traverse the ALIC. Furthermore, the authors analyzed connections from the medial dorsal nucleus, anterior nucleus, and ventral anterior nucleus of the thalamus.

RESULTS The results showed that there is an organizational gradient of thalamic fibers medially and STN fibers laterally in the ALIC that fades more anteriorly. These findings, in combination with the known corticotopic organization described by previous studies, allow for a more thorough understanding of the organization of the white matter fibers in the ALIC.

CONCLUSIONS These results are important for understanding and targeting of neuromodulatory therapies in the ALIC and may help explain why differences in therapeutic effect are observed for different areas of the ALIC.

A taxonomy for brainstem cavernous malformations: subtypes of pontine lesions. Part 1: basilar, peritrigeminal, and middle peduncular

J Neurosurg 137:1462–1476, 2022

Brainstem cavernous malformations (BSCMs) are complex, difficult to access, and highly variable in size, shape, and position. The authors have proposed a novel taxonomy for pontine cavernous malformations (CMs) based upon clinical presentation (syndromes) and anatomical location (findings on MRI).

METHODS The proposed taxonomy was applied to a 30-year (1990–2019), 2-surgeon experience. Of 601 patients who underwent microsurgical resection of BSCMs, 551 with appropriate data were classified on the basis of BSCM location: midbrain (151 [27%]), pons (323 [59%]), and medulla (77 [14%]). Pontine lesions were then subtyped on the basis of their predominant surface presentation identified on preoperative MRI. Neurological outcomes were assessed according to the modified Rankin Scale, with a score ≤ 2 defined as favorable.

RESULTS The 323 pontine BSCMs were classified into 6 distinct subtypes: basilar (6 [1.9%]), peritrigeminal (53 [16.4%]), middle peduncular (MP) (100 [31.0%]), inferior peduncular (47 [14.6%]), rhomboid (80 [24.8%]), and supraolivary (37 [11.5%]). Part 1 of this 2-part series describes the taxonomic basis for the first 3 of these 6 subtypes of pontine CM. Basilar lesions are located in the anteromedial pons and associated with contralateral hemiparesis. Peritrigeminal lesions are located in the anterolateral pons and are associated with hemiparesis and sensory changes. Patients with MP lesions presented with mild anterior inferior cerebellar artery syndrome with contralateral hemisensory loss, ipsilateral ataxia, and ipsilateral facial numbness without cranial neuropathies. A single surgical approach and strategy were preferred for each subtype: for basilar lesions, the pterional craniotomy and anterior transpetrous approach was preferred; for peritrigeminal lesions, extended retrosigmoid craniotomy and transcerebellopontine angle approach; and for MP lesions, extended retrosigmoid craniotomy and trans–middle cerebellar peduncle approach. Favorable outcomes were observed in 123 of 143 (86%) patients with follow-up data. There were no significant differences in outcomes between the 3 subtypes or any other subtypes.

CONCLUSIONS The neurological symptoms and key localizing signs associated with a hemorrhagic pontine subtype can help to define that subtype clinically. The proposed taxonomy for pontine CMs meaningfully guides surgical strategy and may improve patient outcomes.

Microvascular anatomy of the medial temporal region

J Neurosurg 137:747–759, 2022

The authors investigated the microvascular anatomy of the hippocampus and its implications for medial temporal tumor surgery. They aimed to reveal the anatomical variability of the arterial supply and venous drainage of the hippocampus, emphasizing its clinical implications for the removal of associated tumors.

METHODS Forty-seven silicon-injected cerebral hemispheres were examined using microscopy. The origin, course, irrigation territory, spatial relationships, and anastomosis of the hippocampal arteries and veins were investigated. Illustrative cases of hippocampectomy for medial temporal tumor surgery are also provided.

RESULTS The hippocampal arteries can be divided into 3 segments, the anterior (AHA), middle (MHA), and posterior (PHA) hippocampal artery complexes, which correspond to irrigation of the hippocampal head, body, and tail, respectively. The uncal hippocampal and anterior hippocampal-parahippocampal arteries contribute to the AHA complex, the posterior hippocampal-parahippocampal arteries serve as the MHA complex, and the PHA and splenial artery compose the PHA complex. Rich anastomoses between hippocampal arteries were observed, and in 11 (23%) hemispheres, anastomoses between each segment formed a complete vascular arcade at the hippocampal sulcus. Three veins were involved in hippocampal drainage—the anterior hippocampal, anterior longitudinal hippocampal, and posterior longitudinal hippocampal veins—which drain the hippocampal head, body, and tail, respectively, into the basal and internal cerebral veins.

CONCLUSIONS An understanding of the vascular variability and network of the hippocampus is essential for medial temporal tumor surgery via anterior temporal lobectomy with amygdalohippocampectomy and transsylvian selective amygdalohippocampectomy. Stereotactic procedures in this region should also consider the anatomy of the vascular arcade at the hippocampal sulcus.

An externally validated deep learning model for the accurate segmentation of the lumbar paravertebral muscles

European Spine Journal (2022) 31:2156–2164

Imaging studies about the relevance of muscles in spinal disorders, and sarcopenia in general, require the segmentation of the muscles in the images which is very labour-intensive if performed manually and poses a practical limit to the number of investigated subjects. This study aimed at developing a deep learning-based tool able to fully automatically perform an accurate segmentation of the lumbar muscles in axial MRI scans, and at validating the new tool on an external dataset.

Methods A set of 60 axial MRI images of the lumbar spine was retrospectively collected from a clinical database. Psoas major, quadratus lumborum, erector spinae, and multifidus were manually segmented in all available slices. The dataset was used to train and validate a deep neural network able to segment muscles automatically. Subsequently, the network was externally validated on images purposely acquired from 22 healthy volunteers.

Results The median Jaccard index for the individual muscles calculated for the 22 subjects of the external validation set ranged between 0.862 and 0.935, demonstrating a generally excellent performance of the network, although occasional failures were noted. Cross-sectional area and fat fraction of the muscles were in agreement with published data.

Conclusions The externally validated deep neural network was able to perform the segmentation of the paravertebral muscles in an accurate and fully automated manner, although it is not without limitations. The model is therefore a suitable research tool to perform large-scale studies in the field of spinal disorders and sarcopenia, overcoming the limitations of non-automated methods.

Role of the parietooccipital fissure and its implications in the pathophysiology of posterior medial temporal gliomas

J Neurosurg 137:505–514, 2022

The parietooccipital fissure is an anatomical landmark that divides the temporal, occipital, and parietal lobes. More than 40% of gliomas are located in these three lobes, and the temporal lobe is the most common location. The parietooccipital fissure is located just posterior to the medial temporal lobe, but little is known about the clinical significance of this fissure in gliomas. The authors investigated the anatomical correlations between the parietooccipital fissure and posterior medial temporal gliomas to reveal the radiological features and unique invasion patterns of these gliomas.

METHODS The authors retrospectively reviewed records of all posterior medial temporal glioma patients treated at their institutions and examined the parietooccipital fissure. To clarify how the surrounding structures were invaded in each case, the authors categorized tumor invasion as being toward the parietal lobe, occipital lobe, isthmus of the cingulate gyrus, insula/basal ganglia, or splenium of the corpus callosum. DSI Studio was used to visualize the fiber tractography running through the posterior medial temporal lobe.

RESULTS Twenty-four patients with posterior medial temporal gliomas were identified. All patients presented with a parietooccipital fissure as an uninterrupted straight sulcus and as the posterior border of the tumor. Invasion direction was toward the parietal lobe in 13 patients, the occipital lobe in 4 patients, the isthmus of the cingulate gyrus in 19 patients, the insula/basal ganglia in 3 patients, and the splenium of the corpus callosum in 8 patients. Although the isthmus of the cingulate gyrus and the occipital lobe are located just posterior to the posterior medial temporal lobe, there was a significantly greater preponderance of invasion toward the isthmus of the cingulate gyrus than toward the occipital lobe (p = 0.00030, McNemar test). Based on Schramm’s classification for the medial temporal tumors, 4 patients had type A and 20 patients had type D tumors. The parietooccipital fissure determined the posterior border of the tumors, resulting in a unique and identical radiological feature. Diffusion spectrum imaging (DSI) tractography indicated that the fibers running through the posterior medial temporal lobe toward the occipital lobe had to detour laterally around the bottom of the parietooccipital fissure.

CONCLUSIONS Posterior medial temporal gliomas present identical invasion patterns, resulting in unique radiological features that are strongly affected by the parietooccipital fissure. The parietooccipital fissure is a key anatomical landmark for understanding the complex infiltrating architecture of posterior medial temporal gliomas.


The endonasal midline inferior intercavernous approach to the cavernous sinus

Acta Neurochirurgica


Traditional endoscopic endonasal approaches to the cavernous sinus (CS) open the anterior CS wall just medial to the internal carotid artery (ICA), posing risk of vascular injury. This work describes a potentially safer midline sellar entry point for accessing the CS utilizing its connection with the inferior intercavernous sinus (IICS) when anatomically present.

Methods The technique for the midline intercavernous dural access is described and depicted with cadaveric dissections and a clinical case.

Results An endoscopic endonasal approach exposed the periosteal dural layer of anterior sella and CS. The IICS was opened sharply in midline through its periosteal layer. The feather knife was inserted and advanced laterally within the IICS toward the anterior CS wall, thereby gradually incising the periosteal layer of the IICS. The knife was turned superiorly then inferiorly in a vertical direction to open the anterior CS wall. This provided excellent access to the CS compartments, maintained the meningeal layer of the IICS and the medial CS wall, and avoided an initial dural incision immediately adjacent to the ICA.

Conclusion The midline intercavernous dural access to the CS assisted by a 90° dissector-blade is an effective modification to previously described techniques, with potentially lower risk to the ICA.

Hakuba’s triangle: a cadaveric study detailing its anatomy and neurovascular contents with vascular and skull base implications

Neurosurgical Review (2022) 45:2087–2093

Hakuba’s triangle is a superior cavernous sinus triangle that allows for wide and relatively safe exposure of vascular and neoplastic lesions.

This study provides cadaveric measurements of the borders of Hakuba’s triangle and describes its neurovascular contents in order to enrich the available literature.

The anatomical borders of the Hakuba’s triangle (lateral, medial, and posterior borders) were defined based on Hakuba’s description and identified. Then the triangle was dissected to reveal its morphology and relationship with adjacent neurovascular structures in Embalmed Caucasian cadaveric specimens.

The oculomotor nerve occupied roughly one-third of the area of the triangle and the nerve was more or less parallel to its medial border. The mean lengths of the lateral border, posterior border, and medial border were 17 mm ± 0.5 mm, 12.2 mm ± 0.4 mm, and 10.6 mm ± 0.4 mm, respectively. The mean area of Hakuba’s triangle was 63.9 mm 2 ± 4.4 mm 2 .

In this study, we provided cadaveric measurements of the borders of Hakuba’s triangle along with descriptions of its neurovascular contents.

Microsurgical approaches to the cerebellar interpeduncular region

J Neurosurg 136:1410–1423, 2022

The cerebellar interpeduncular region (CIPR) is a gate for dorsolateral pontine and cerebellar lesions accessed through the supracerebellar infratentorial approach (SCITa), the occipital transtentorial approach (OTa), or the subtemporal transtentorial approach (STa). The authors sought to compare the exposures of the CIPR region that each of these approaches provided.

METHODS Three approaches were performed bilaterally in eight silicone-injected cadaveric heads. The working area, area of exposure, depth of the surgical corridor, length of the interpeduncular sulcus (IPS) exposed, and bridging veins were statistically studied and compared based on each approach.

RESULTS The OTa provided the largest working area (1421 mm2; p < 0.0001) and the longest surgical corridor (6.75 cm; p = 0.0006). Compared with the SCITa, the STa provided a larger exposure area (249.3 mm2; p = 0.0148) and exposed more of the length of the IPS (1.15 cm; p = 0.0484). The most bridging veins were encountered with the SCITa; however, no significant differences were found between this approach and the other approaches (p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS To reach the CIPR, the STa provided a more extensive exposure area and more linear exposure than did the SCITa. The OTa offered a larger working area than the SCIT and the STa; however, the OTa had the most extensive surgical corridor. These data may help neurosurgeons select the most appropriate approach for lesions of the CIPR.

Distinct approaches to language pathway tractography

J Neurosurg 136:589–600, 2022

Visualization of subcortical language pathways by means of diffusion tensor imaging–fiber tracking (DTIFT) is evolving as an important tool for surgical planning and decision making in patients with language-suspect brain tumors. Repetitive navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) cortical language mapping noninvasively provides additional functional information. Efforts to incorporate rTMS data into DTI-FT are promising, but the lack of established protocols makes it hard to assess clinical utility. The authors performed DTI-FT of important language pathways by using five distinct approaches in an effort to evaluate the respective clinical usefulness of each approach.

METHODS Thirty patients with left-hemispheric perisylvian lesions underwent preoperative rTMS language mapping and DTI. FT of the principal language tracts was conducted according to different strategies: Ia, anatomical landmark based; Ib, lesion-focused landmark based; IIa, rTMS based; IIb, rTMS based with postprocessing; and III, rTMS enhanced (based on a combination of structural and functional data). The authors analyzed the respective success of each method in revealing streamlines and conducted a multinational survey with expert clinicians to evaluate aspects of clinical utility.

RESULTS The authors observed high usefulness and accuracy ratings for anatomy-based approaches (Ia and Ib). Postprocessing of rTMS-based tractograms (IIb) led to more balanced perceived information content but did not improve the usefulness for surgical planning and risk assessment. Landmark-based tractography (Ia and Ib) was most successful in delineating major language tracts (98% success), whereas rTMS-based tractography (IIa and IIb) frequently failed to reveal streamlines and provided less complete tractograms than the landmark-based approach (p < 0.001). The lesionfocused landmark-based (Ib) and the rTMS-enhanced (III) approaches were the most preferred methods.

CONCLUSIONS The lesion-focused landmark-based approach (Ib) achieved the best ratings and enabled visualization of the principal language tracts in almost all cases. The rTMS-enhanced approach (III) was positively evaluated by the experts because it can reveal cortico-subcortical connections, but the functional relevance of these connections is still unclear. The use of regions of interest derived solely from cortical rTMS mapping (IIa and IIb) leads to cluttered images that are of limited use in clinical practice.

Impact of C‑shaped skin incision on surgical operability in the retrosigmoid approach: when a good start is half of the job

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:2155–2163

The retrosigmoid approach (RSA) is one of the routes of choice to approach tumors and vascular lesions of the cerebellopontine angle. Among different types of skin incisions and soft tissue dissection techniques, the most widely used variants comprise the straight/lazy S-shaped and the C-shaped incisions. Several reports discuss advantages in terms of functional and clinical outcomes of the C-shaped incision, but scientific considerations about the critical impact of this kind of incision on surgical operability are still extremely limited.

Object Authors comparatively analyze the advantage provided by C-shaped incision in RSA in terms of anatomic exposure and surgical operability, compared with straight/lazy S-shaped one.

Methods A comparative microanatomical laboratory investigation was conducted. The operability score (OS) was applied for quantitative analysis of surgical operability.

Results C-shaped incision, providing a significant reduction of the overall working distance (–13%) together with an overall increase of the maneuverability area (+ 204.9%), did improve the conizing effect on the surgical corridor. It optimized overall maneuverability of surgical instruments, in terms of angle of attack (+ 27.7%), as well as maneuverability arc (+ 122%), on the entire surgical field. C-shaped incision ensured good operability on all surgical targets (OS ranging from 2 to 3), most significantly improving surgical maneuverability at the porus trigeminus and internal acoustic meatus.

Conclusion C-shaped incision in the RSA significantly improves anatomic exposure and surgical operability as compared with straight/lazy S-shaped incision.

Anatomical multifocal high-grade glioma resection

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:953–957

If an awake surgery is somehow not available for gliomas at the language area, understanding the anatomy and well designed surgical strategy are important.

Method We present a case with left hemispheric multifocal high-grade gliomas located deeply at the left temporal pole, the Wernicke’s area, and mesial temporal region. Because the patient could not endure the awake surgery and obtain practicable functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for eloquent cortex evaluation, we removed the lesions following the anatomical resection strategy guided by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).

Conclusion This case demonstrates the value of DTI and the importance of anatomical resection strategies in glioma surgeries.

The ipsilateral interhemispheric transprecuneal approach: microsurgical anatomy, indications, and neurosurgical applications

Neurosurgical Review (2021) 44:529–541

Surgical treatment of intraventricular lesions is challenging because of their deep location, vascularization, and their complex relationships with white matter fibers. The authors undertook this study to describe the microsurgical anatomy of the white matter fibers covering the lateral wall of the atrium and temporal horn and to demonstrate how the ipsilateral interhemispheric transprecuneal approach can be safely used to remove lesions of this region sparing the anatomo-functional integrity of the fibers themselves. A detailed description of the approach including operative measurements is also given.

The Klingler’ technique with progressive identification of white matter fibers covering the lateral wall of the atrium and temporal horn was performed on ten formalin-fixed human hemispheres. Then, ten fresh, non-formalin-fixed non-silicon-injected adult cadaveric heads were analyzed for the simulation of the ipsilateral interhemispheric transprecuneal approach. Three illustrative cases are presented. The simulation of the interhemispheric transprecuneal approach on ten fresh non-formalin-fixed specimens showed that a 10 to 20 mm corticotomy perpendicular to the parieto-occipital sulcus at the junction with the cingulum allows a wide corridor for the exposure of the entire atrial cavity and the posterior third of the temporal horn.

The ipsilateral interhemispheric transprecuneus approach represents a safe and effective option for tumors involving the atrium and the posterior third of the temporal horn.

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