Neurosurgery Blog

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Daily bibliographic review of the Neurosurgery Department. La Fe University Hospital. Valencia, Spain

The Impact of Diffusion Tensor Imaging Fiber Tracking of the Corticospinal Tract Based on Navigated Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation on Surgery of Motor-Eloquent Brain Lesions

Neurosurgery 83:768–782, 2018

Navigated transcranialmagnetic stimulation (nTMS) enables preoperative mapping of the motor cortex (M1). The combination of nTMSwith diffusion tensor imaging fiber tracking (DTI-FT) of the corticospinal tract (CST) has been described; however, its impact on surgery of motor-eloquent lesions has not been addressed.

OBJECTIVE: To analyze the impact of nTMS-basedmapping on surgery ofmotor-eloquent lesions.

METHODS: In this retrospective case-control study, we reviewed the data of patients operated for suspected motor-eloquent lesions between 2012 and 2015. The patients underwent nTMS mapping of M1 and, from 2014, nTMS-based DTI-FT of the CST. The impact on the preoperative risk/benefit analysis, surgical strategy, craniotomy size, extent of resection (EOR), and outcome were compared with a control group.

RESULTS: We included 35 patients who underwent nTMS mapping of M1 (group A), 35 patients who also underwent nTMS-based DTI-FT of the CST (group B), and a control group composed of 35 patients treated without nTMS (group C). The patients in groups A and B received smaller craniotomies (P = .01; P = .001), had less postoperative seizures (P = .02), and a better postoperativemotor performance (P=.04) and Karnofsky Performance Status (P=.009) than the controls. Group B exhibited an improved risk/benefit analysis (P=.006), an increased EOR of nTMS-negative lesions in absence of preoperative motor deficits (P = .01), and less motor and Karnofsky Performance Status worsening in case of preoperative motor deficits (P = .02, P = .03) than group A.

CONCLUSION: nTMS-based mapping enables a tailored surgical approach for motor eloquent lesions. It may improve the risk/benefit analysis, EOR and outcome, particularly when nTMS-based DTI-FT is performed.

Deep brain stimulation for dementias

Neurosurg Focus 45 (2):E8, 2018

The aim of this article is to review the authors’ and published experience with deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapy for the treatment of patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD).

METHODS Two targets are current topics of investigation in the treatment of AD and PDD, the fornix and the nucleus basalis of Meynert. The authors reviewed the current published clinical experience with attention to patient selection, biological rationale of therapy, anatomical targeting, and clinical results and adverse events.

RESULTS A total of 7 clinical studies treating 57 AD patients and 7 PDD patients have been reported. Serious adverse events were reported in 6 (9%) patients; none resulted in death or disability. Most studies were case reports or Phase 1/2 investigations and were not designed to assess treatment efficacy. Isolated patient experiences demonstrating improved clinical response after DBS have been reported, but no significant or consistent cognitive benefits associated with DBS treatment could be identified across larger patient populations.

CONCLUSIONS PDD and AD are complex clinical entities, with investigation of DBS intervention still in an early phase. Recently published studies demonstrate acceptable surgical safety. For future studies to have adequate power to detect meaningful clinical changes, further refinement is needed in patient selection, metrics of clinical response, and optimal stimulation parameters.

Long-Term Follow-up Study of MRI-Guided Bilateral Anterior Capsulotomy in PatientsWith Refractory Anorexia Nervosa

Neurosurgery 83:86–92, 2018

Anorexia nervosa (AN) is one of the most challenging psychiatric disorders to treat. The poor clinical outcomes warrant novel treatments for AN, especially in severe and persistent cases.

OBJECTIVE: To explore the feasibility of magnetic resonance imaging-guided bilateral anterior capsulotomy in the treatment of refractory AN.

METHODS: Seventy-four patients diagnosed with refractory AN who underwent capsulotomy completed this 3-yr follow-up study. Outcomesincluded body mass index (BMI) and results froma series of psychiatric scales (for obsessive, depressive, and anxious symptoms) that were implemented at baseline (presurgery), and 1 mo, 1 yr, and 3 yr after surgery.

RESULTS: Compared to presurgical levels, BMI increased significantly at 1-yr and 3-yr follow-ups. Compared to presurgery scores, psychiatric scale scores were significantly improved at 1-mo postsurgery, and continued to remain low at the 1-yr and 3-yr follow-ups. In addition, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores were in the normal range during the long-term follow-up. The most common short-term side effects included urinary incontinence (n = 7), sleep disorders (n = 8), and fatigue (n = 6). Longterm complications included disinhibition (n = 6), memory loss (n = 3), and lethargy (n = 4). No patient in this study experienced death or disability.

CONCLUSION: Capsulotomy enabled patients with refractory AN to normalize their weight, especially those in life-threatening conditions. While it appears to be an acceptable life-saving treatment, it is indicated only when fulfilling strict criteria given its complications and irreversibility.

Congress of Neurological Surgeons Systematic Review and Evidence-Based Guideline on Subthalamic Nucleus and Globus Pallidus Internus Deep Brain Stimulation for the Treatment of Patients With Parkinson’s Disease

Neurosurgery 82:753–756, 2018

QUESTION 1: Is bilateral subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation (STN DBS) more, less, or as effective as bilateral globus pallidus internus deep brain stimulation (GPi DBS) in treating motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, as measured by improvements in Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale, part III (UPDRS-III) scores?

RECOMMENDATION: Given that bilateral STN DBS is at least as effective as bilateral GPi DBS in treating motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (as measured by improvements in UPDRS-III scores), consideration can be given to the selection of either target in patients undergoing surgery to treat motor symptoms. (Level I)

QUESTION 2: Is bilateral STN DBS more, less, or as effective as bilateral GPi DBS in allowing reduction of dopaminergic medication in Parkinson’s disease?

RECOMMENDATION: When the main goal of surgery is reduction of dopaminergic medications in a patient with Parkinson’s disease, then bilateral STN DBS should be performed instead of GPi DBS. (Level I)

QUESTION 3: Is bilateral STN DBSmore, less, or as effective as bilateral GPi DBS in treating dyskinesias associated with Parkinson’s disease?

RECOMMENDATION: There is insufficient evidence to make a generalizable recommendation regarding the target selection for reduction of dyskinesias. However, when the reduction of medication is not anticipated and there is a goal to reduce the severity of “on” medication dyskinesias, the GPi should be targeted. (Level I)

QUESTION 4: Is bilateral STN DBS more, less, or as effective as bilateral GPi DBS in improving quality of life measures in Parkinson’s disease?

RECOMMENDATION:When considering improvements in quality of life in a patient undergoing DBS for Parkinson’s disease, there is no basis to recommend bilateral DBS in 1 target over the other. (Level I) QUESTION 5: Is bilateral STN DBS associated with greater, lesser, or a similar impact on neurocognitive function than bilateral GPi DBS in Parkinson disease?

RECOMMENDATION: If there is significant concern about cognitive decline, particularly in regards to processing speed and working memory in a patient undergoing DBS, then the clinician should consider using GPi DBS rather than STN DBS, while taking into consideration other goals of surgery. (Level I)

QUESTION 6: Is bilateral STN DBS associated with a higher, lower, or similar risk of mood disturbance than GPi DBS in Parkinson’s disease?

RECOMMENDATION: If there is significant concern about the risk of depression in a patient undergoing DBS, then the clinician should consider using pallidal rather than STN stimulation, while taking into consideration other goals of surgery. (Level I)

QUESTION 7: Is bilateral STN DBS associated with a higher, lower, or similar risk of adverse events compared to GPi DBS in Parkinson’s disease?

RECOMMENDATION: There is insufficient evidence to recommend bilateral DBS in 1 target over the other in order to minimize the risk of surgical adverse events.

The full guideline can be found at: https://www.cns.org/guidelines/deep-brainstimulation- parkinsons-disease.

 

Deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s disease: meta-analysis of results of randomized trials at varying lengths of follow-up

J Neurosurg 128:1199–1213, 2018

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is effective in the management of patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease (PD). While both the globus pallidus pars interna (GPi) and the subthalamic nucleus (STN) are accepted targets, their relative efficacy in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) has not been established beyond 12 months. The objective of this study was to conduct a meta-analysis of RCTs to compare outcomes among adults with PD undergoing DBS of GPi or STN at various time points, including 36 months of follow-up.

METHODS The MEDLINE, Embase, CENTRAL, Web of Science, and CINAHL databases were searched. Registries for clinical trials, selected conference proceedings, and the table of contents for selected journals were also searched. Screens were conducted independently and in duplicate. Among the 623 studies initially identified (615 through database search, 7 through manual review of bibliographies, and 1 through a repeat screen of literature prior to submission), 19 underwent full-text review; 13 of these were included in the quantitative meta-analysis. Data were extracted independently and in duplicate. The Cochrane Collaboration tool was used to assess the risk of bias. The GRADE evidence profile tool was used to assess the quality of the evidence. Motor scores, medication dosage reduction, activities of daily living, depression, dyskinesias, and adverse events were compared. The influence of disease duration (a priori) and the proportion of male patients within a study (post hoc) were explored as potential subgroups.

RESULTS Thirteen studies (6 original cohorts) were identified. No difference in motor scores or activities of daily living was identified at 36 months. Medications were significantly reduced with STN stimulation (5 studies, weighted mean difference [WMD] -365.46, 95% CI -599.48 to -131.44, p = 0.002). Beck Depression Inventory scores were significantly better with GPi stimulation (3 studies; WMD 2.53, 95% CI 0.99–4.06 p = 0.001). The motor benefits of GPi and STN DBS for PD are similar.

CONCLUSIONS The motor benefits achieved with GPi and STN DBS for PD are similar. DBS of STN allows for a greater reduction of medication, but not as significant an advantage as DBS of GPi with respect to mood. This difference is sustained at 36 months. Further long-term studies are necessary.

Subthalamic deep brain stimulation under general anesthesia and neurophysiological guidance while on dopaminergic medication

Acta Neurochirurgica (2018) 160:823–829

The authors have previously reported on the technical feasibility of subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation (STN DBS) under general anesthesia (GA) with microelectrode recording (MER) guidance in Parkinsonian patients who continued dopaminergic therapy until surgery. This paper presents the results of a prospective cohort analysis to verify the outcome of the initial study, and report on wider aspects of clinical outcome and postoperative recovery. Methods All patients in the study group continued dopaminergic therapy until GA was administered. Baseline characteristics, intraoperative neurophysiological markers, and perioperative complications were recorded. Long-term outcome was assessed using selective aspects of the unified Parkinson’s disease rating scale motor score. Immediate postoperative recovery from GA was assessed using the Btime needed for extubation^ and Btotal time of recovery.^ Data for the Bstudy group^ was collected prospectively. Examined variables were compared between the Bstudy group^ and Bhistorical control group^ who stopped dopaminergic therapy preoperatively. Results The study group, n = 30 (May 2014–Jan 2016), were slightly younger than the Bcontrol group,^ 60 (51–64) vs. 64 (56– 69) years respectively, p = 0.043. Both groups were comparable for the recorded intraoperative neurophysiological parameters;number of MER tracks: 60% of the study group had single track vs. 58% in the control group, p = 1.0. Length of STN MER detected was 9 vs. 7 mm (median) respectively, p = 0.037. A trend towards better recovery from GA in the study group was noted, with shorter total recovery time: 60 (50–84) vs. 89 (62–120) min, p = 0.09. Long-term improvement in motor scores and reduction in L-dopa daily equivalent dose were equally comparable between both groups. No cases of dopamine withdrawal or problems with immediate postop dyskinesia were recorded in the on medications group. The observed rate of dopamine withdrawal side effects in the off-medications group was 15%.

Conclusions The continuation of dopaminergic treatment for patients with PD does not affect the feasibility/outcome of the STN DBS surgery. This strategy appears to reduce the risk of dopamine-withdrawal adverse effects and may improve the recovery in the immediate postoperative period, which would help enhance patients’ perioperative experience.

 

Deep brain stimulation for the early treatment of the minimally conscious state and vegetative state

J Neurosurg 128:1189–1198, 2018

An effective treatment of patients in a minimally conscious state (MCS) or vegetative state (VS) caused by hypoxic encephalopathy or traumatic brain injury (TBI) is not yet available. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the thalamic reticular nuclei has been attempted as a therapeutic procedure mainly in patients with TBI. The purpose of this study was to investigate the therapeutic use of DBS for patients in VS or MCS.

METHODS Fourteen of 49 patients in VS or MCS qualified for inclusion in this study and underwent DBS. Of these 14 patients, 4 were in MCS and 10 were in VS. The etiology of VS or MCS was TBI in 4 cases and hypoxic encephalopathy due to cardiac arrest in 10. The selection criteria for DBS, evaluating the status of the cerebral cortex and thalamocortical reticular formation, included: neurological evaluation, electrophysiological evaluation, and the results of positron emission tomography (PET) and MRI examinations. The target for DBS was the centromedian-parafascicular (CM-pf) complex. The duration of follow-up ranged from 38 to 60 months.

RESULTS Two MCS patients regained consciousness and regained their ability to walk, speak fluently, and live independently. One MCS patient reached the level of consciousness, but was still in a wheelchair at the time the article was written. One VS patient (who had suffered a cerebral ischemic lesion) improved to the level of consciousness and currently responds to simple commands. Three VS patients died of respiratory infection, sepsis, or cerebrovascular insult (1 of each). The other 7 patients remained without substantial improvement of consciousness.

CONCLUSIONS Spontaneous recovery from MCS/VS to the level of consciousness with no or minimal need for assistance in everyday life is very rare. Therefore, if a patient in VS or MCS fulfills the selection criteria (presence of somatosensory evoked potentials from upper extremities, motor and brainstem auditory evoked potentials, with cerebral glucose metabolism affected not more than the level of hypometabolism, which is judged using PET), DBS could be a treatment option.

 

DBS for Tourette syndrome: a single-center series

J Neurosurg 128:596–604, 2018

Tourette syndrome (TS) is a complex neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by multiple motor and phonic tics. While pharmacological and behavioral therapy can be effective in most patients, a subset of patients remains refractory to treatment. Increasing clinical evidence from multiple centers suggests that deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the medial thalamus can be effective in many cases of refractory TS.

METHODS The authors retrospectively reviewed outcomes in 13 patients with refractory TS who underwent medial thalamic DBS performed by their team over a 7-year period. Patients were evaluated by a multidisciplinary team, and preoperative objective assessments were performed using the Yale Global Tic Severity Scale (YGTSS) and Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale. YGTSS scores were calculated at visits immediately postoperatively and at the most recent follow-up in patients with a minimum of 6 months of postoperative follow-up. Coordinates of the active DBS contacts were calculated and projected onto each patient’s pre- and postoperative images.

RESULTS Patients showed an average decrease of 37% (p = 0.0063) in the total tic severity at their first postoperative visit. At their latest visit, their scores achieved significance, decreasing from preoperative scores by an average of 50% (p = 0.0014). The average position of the active contact was noted to be at the junction of the posterior ventralis oralis internus/ centromedian-parafascicular nuclei. Device-related complications occurred in 2 patients, necessitating additional surgeries. All patients continued to use the system at last follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS The authors’ data are consistent with the small but growing body of literature supporting DBS of the ventralis oralis internus/centromedian-parafascicular thalamus as an effective and relatively safe treatment for severe, refractory TS.

Asleep Robot-Assisted Surgery for the Implantation of Subthalamic Electrodes Provides the Same Clinical Improvement and Therapeutic Window as Awake Surgery

OBJECTIVE: To study the impact of not performing awake clinical evaluation during the robot-assisted implantation of subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation (STN-DBS) electrodes on the stimulation parameters and clinical outcomes in patients with Parkinson disease (PD).

METHODS: A total of 23 patients with PD underwent robot-assisted surgery for the bilateral implantation of STN-DBS electrodes. Thirteen patients received general anesthesia (GA) and a limited intraoperative evaluation (side effects only), and the other 10 patients received local anesthesia (LA) and a full evaluation. The primary endpoint was the therapeutic window (TW), defined as the difference between the mean voltage threshold for motor improvement and the mean voltage threshold for side effects in the active contacts at 12 months after surgery. Motor scores were measured as well.

RESULTS: The TW was similar in the LA and GA groups, with mean  standard deviation values of 2.06  0.53 V and 2.28  0.99 V, respectively (P [ 0.32). In the short term, the Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) III score in the “off-drug, on-stim” condition fell to a similar extent in the LA and GA groups (by 40.3% and 49%, respectively; P [ 0.336), as did the UPDRS III score in the “on-stim, ondrug” condition (by 57% and 70.7%, respectively; P [ 0.36).

CONCLUSIONS: Asleep, robot-assisted implantation of STN-DBS electrodes (with accurate identification of the STN and positioning of the DBS lead) produced the same motor results and TW as awake surgery.

 

 

Nerve atrophy in trigeminal neuralgia due to neurovascular compression and its association with surgical outcomes after microvascular decompression

Acta Neurochir (2017) 159:1699–1705

Idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is caused by neurovascular compression and is often related to morphological changes in the trigeminal nerve. The aim of this study was to quantitatively measure atrophic changes of trigeminal nerves in patients with TN, and to further investigate whether nerve atrophy affected the efficacy of microvascular decompression (MVD).

Methods We conducted a prospective case-control study of 60 consecutive patients with TN and 30 sex- and age-matched healthy controls. All subjects underwent high-resolution three-dimensional MRI. The volume of the cisternal segment of trigeminal nerves was measured and compared using 3D Slicer software. Patients with TN underwent primary MVD and regular follow-up for at least 2 years. Associations of nerve atrophy with patient characteristics and operative outcomes were analyzed.

Results The mean volume of the affected trigeminal nerve was significantly reduced in comparison to that of the nonaffected side (65.8 ± 21.1 versus 77.9 ± 19.3 mm3, P = 0.001) and controls (65.8 ± 21.1 versus 74.7 ± 16.5 mm3, P = 0.003). Fifty-two patients (86.7%) achieved complete pain relief without medication immediately after surgery, and 77.6% of patients were complete pain relief at the 2-year follow-up. The Spearman correlation test showed that there was a positive correlation (r=0.46, P = 0.018) between the degree of trigeminal nerve indentation and nerve atrophy. In multivariate logistic regression analysis, two factors, indentation on nerve root (OR = 2.968, P = 0.022) and degree of nerve atrophy (OR = 1.18, P = 0.035), were associated with the long-term outcome.

Conclusions TN is associated with atrophy on the affected nerve. Furthermore, greater nerve atrophy is associated with more severe trigeminal nerve indentation and better long-term outcome following MVD.

Exploring the brain through posterior hypothalamus surgery for aggressive behavior

Neurosurg Focus 43 (3):E14, 2017

Neurological surgery offers an opportunity to study brain functions, through either resection or implanted neuromodulation devices. Pathological aggressive behavior in patients with intellectual disability is a frequent condition that is difficult to treat using either supportive care or pharmacological therapy.

The bulk of the laboratory studies performed throughout the 19th century enabled the formulation of hypotheses on brain circuits involved in the generation of emotions.

Aggressive behavior was also studied extensively. Lesional radiofrequency surgery of the posterior hypothalamus, which peaked in the 1970s, was shown to be an effective therapy in many reported series. As with other surgical procedures for the treatment of psychiatric disorders, however, this therapy was abandoned for many reasons, including the risk of its misuse.

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) offers the possibility of treating neurological and psychoaffective disorders through relatively reversible and adaptable therapy. Deep brain stimulation of the posterior hypothalamus was proposed and performed successfully in 2005 as a treatment for aggressive behavior. Other groups reported positive outcomes using target and parameter settings similar to those of the original study. Both the lesional and DBS approaches enabled researchers to explore the role of the posterior hypothalamus (or posterior hypothalamic area) in the autonomic and emotional systems.

 

Complications in awake versus asleep DBS

J Neurosurg 127:360–369, 2017

As the number of deep brain stimulation (DBS) procedures performed under general anesthesia (“asleep” DBS) increases, it is more important to assess the rates of adverse events, inpatient lengths of stay (LOS), and 30-day readmission rates in patients undergoing these procedures compared with those in patients undergoing traditional “awake” DBS without general anesthesia.

METHODS All patients in an institutional database who had undergone awake or asleep DBS procedures performed by a single surgeon between August 2011 and August 2014 were reviewed. Adverse events, inpatient LOS, and 30-day readmissions were analyzed.

RESULTS A total of 490 electrodes were placed in 284 patients, of whom 126 (44.4%) underwent awake surgery and 158 (55.6%) underwent asleep surgery. The most frequent overall complication for the cohort was postoperative mental status change (13 patients [4.6%]), followed by hemorrhage (4 patients [1.4%]), seizure (4 patients [1.4%]), and hardwarerelated infection (3 patients [1.1%]). Mean LOS for all 284 patients was 1.19 ± 1.29 days (awake: 1.06 ± 0.46 days; asleep: 1.30 ± 1.67 days; p = 0.08). Overall, the 30-day readmission rate was 1.4% (1 awake patient, 3 asleep patients). There were no significant differences in complications, LOS, and 30-day readmissions between awake and asleep groups.

CONCLUSIONS Both awake and asleep DBS can be performed safely with low complication rates. The authors found no significant differences between the 2 procedure groups in adverse events, inpatient LOS, and 30-day readmission rates.

Optimization of Microelectrode Recording in Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery Using Intraoperative Computed Tomography

WORLD NEUROSURGERY 103: 168-173, JULY 2017

Microelectrode recording (MER) is used to confirm targeting accuracy during deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery. We describe a technique using intraoperative computed tomography (CT) extrapolation (iCTE) to predetermine and adjust the trajectory of the guide tube to improve microelectrode targeting accuracy. We hypothesized that this technique would decrease the number of MER tracks and operative time, while increasing the recorded length of the subthalamic nucleus (STN).

– METHODS: Thirty-nine patients with Parkinson’s disease who underwent STN DBS before the iCTE method were compared with 33 patients undergoing STN DBS using iCTE. Before dural opening, a guide tube was inserted and rested on dura. Intraoperative computed tomography (iCT) was performed, and a trajectory was created along the guide tube and extrapolated to the target using targeting software. If necessary, headstage adjustments were made to correct for error. The guide tube was inserted, and MER was performed. iCT was performed with the microelectrode tip at the target. Coordinates were compared with planned/ adjusted track coordinates. Radial error between the MER track and the planned/adjusted track was calculated. Cases before and after implementation of iCTE were compared to determine the impact of iCTE on operative time, number of MER tracks and recorded STN length.

– RESULTS: The use of iCTE reduced the average radial MER track error from 1.90  0.12 mm (n[54) to 0.84  0.09 mm (n[49) (P < 0.001) while reducing the operative time for bilateral lead placement from 272  9 minutes (n [ 30) to 233  10 minutes (n [ 24) (P < 0.001). The average MER tracks per hemisphere was reduced from 2.24  0.13 mm (n[66) to 1.75  0.09 mm (n[63) (P < 0.001), whereas the percentage of hemispheres requiring a single MER track for localization increased from 29% (n [ 66) to 43% (n [ 63). The average length of recorded STN increased from 4.01  0.3 mm (n [ 64) to 4.75  0.28 mm (n [ 56) (P < 0.05).

-CONCLUSION: iCTE improves microelectrode accuracy and increases the first-pass recorded length of STN, while reducing operative time. Further studies are needed to determine whether this technique leads to less morbidity and improved clinical outcomes.

 

Protocol for motor and language mapping by navigated TMS in patients and healthy volunteers

Acta Neurochir (2017) 159:1187–1195

Navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (nTMS) is increasingly used for preoperative mapping of motor function, and clinical evidence for its benefit for brain tumor patients is accumulating. In respect to language mapping with repetitive nTMS, literature reports have yielded variable results, and it is currently not routinely performed for presurgical language localization. The aim of this project is to define a common protocol for nTMS motor and language mapping to standardize its neurosurgical application and increase its clinical value.

Methods: The nTMS workshop group, consisting of highly experienced nTMS users with experience of more than 1500 preoperative nTMS examinations, met in Helsinki in January 2016 for thorough discussions of current evidence and personal experiences with the goal to recommend a standardized protocol for neurosurgical applications.

Results: nTMS motor mapping is a reliable and clinically validated tool to identify functional areas belonging to both normal and lesioned primary motor cortex. In contrast, this is less clear for language-eloquent cortical areas identified by nTMS. The user group agreed on a core protocol, which enables comparison of results between centers and has an excellent safety profile. Recommendations for nTMS motor and language mapping protocols and their optimal clinical integration are presented here.

Conclusion: At present, the expert panel recommends nTMS motor mapping in routine neurosurgical practice, as it has a sufficient level of evidence supporting its reliability. The panel recommends that nTMS language mapping be used in the framework of clinical studies to continue refinement of its protocol and increase reliability.

Underutilization of deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s disease?

Acta Neurochir (2017) 159:771–778

Only 10% of the up to 15% of patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease (PD) eligible for deep brain stimulation (DBS) are referred to specialized centers. This survey evaluated the reasons for the reluctance of patients and referring physicians regarding DBS.

Methods: Two different questionnaires containing multiple choice and open verbalized questions were developed, one for neurologists and one for patients with PD. The first questionnaire was sent to 87 neurologists in private practice in the catchment area of the authors’ medical center, the second to patient support groups in the same region with the help of the German Parkinson Association.

Results: Of the addressed neurologists, 56.3% completed the questionnaire; 61.2% of themestimated the risk of intracerebral hemorrhage as the most severe complication at 4.3% on average; 30.6% were concerned about patients developing mood changes or depression after DBS. Only 16.3% felt unable to care for patients after DBS; 61.2% already had personal experience with patients after DBS and reported good clinical outcome in 90.0% of patients. Although 87.8% claimed to know the specific criteria for DBS, only 40.8% could actively describe them. Only 14.0% could state each of the three main criteria. Of the 46 patients, 88.1% completing the questionnaire had obtained information on DBS from regional patient organizations and 54.8% also from a physician; 44.7% assumed the risk of severe complications to be ≥5.0%. Not being satisfied with their medical treatment was reported by 22.2%, of whom more than 70% considered DBS a further treatment option.

Conclusions The latter numbers indicate that treating neurologists tend to overestimate the reluctance of their patients to undergo DBS. Therefore, education of patients and neurologists should be improved and give more realistic figures on the actual outcomes and frequencies of possible complications.

Microelectrode recording findings within the tractography-defined ventral intermediate nucleus

J Neurosurg 126:1669–1675, 2017

The ventral intermediate nucleus (VIM) of the thalamus is not visible on structural MRI. Therefore, direct VIM targeting methods for stereotactic tremor surgery are desirable. The authors previously described a direct targeting method for visualizing the VIM and its structural connectivity using deterministic tractography. In this combined electrophysiology and imaging study, the authors investigated the electrophysiology within this tractography-defined VIM (T-VIM).

METHODS Thalamic neurons were classified based on their relative location to the T-VIM: dorsal, within, and ventral to the T-VIM. The authors identified the movement-responsive cells (kinesthetic and tremor cells), performed spike analysis (firing rate and burst index), and local field potential analysis (area under the curve for 13–30 Hz). Tremor efficacy in response to microstimulation along the electrode trajectory was also assessed in relation to the T-VIM.

RESULTS Seventy-three cells from a total of 9 microelectrode tracks were included for this analysis. Movement-responsive cells (20 kinesthetic cells and 26 tremor cells) were identified throughout the electrode trajectories. The mean firing rate and burst index of cells (n = 27) within the T-VIM are 18.8 ± 9.8 Hz and 4.5 ± 5.4, respectively. Significant local field potential beta power was identified within the T-VIM (area under the curve for 13–30 Hz = 6.6 ± 7.7) with a trend toward higher beta power in the dorsal T-VIM. The most significant reduction in tremor was also observed in the dorsal T-VIM.

CONCLUSIONS The electrophysiological findings within the VIM thalamus defined by tractography, or T-VIM, correspond with the known microelectrode recording characteristics of the VIM in patients with tremor.

Variability of intraoperative electrostimulation parameters in conscious individuals: language cortex

J Neurosurg 126:1641–1652, 2017

Electrostimulation in awake brain mapping is widely used to guide tumor removal, but methodologies can differ substantially across institutions. The authors studied electrostimulation brain mapping data to characterize the variability of the current intensity threshold across patients and the effect of its variations on the number, type, and surface area of the essential language areas detected.

METHODS Over 7 years, the authors prospectively studied 100 adult patients who were undergoing intraoperative brain mapping during resection of left hemisphere tumors. In all 100 cases, the same protocol of electrostimulation brain mapping (a controlled naming task—bipolar stimulation with biphasic square wave pulses of 1-msec duration and 60-Hz trains, maximum train duration 6 sec) and electrocorticography was used to detect essential language areas.

RESULTS The minimum positive thresholds of stimulation varied from patient to patient; the mean minimum intensity required to detect interference was 4.46 mA (range 1.5–9 mA), and in a substantial proportion of sites (13.5%) interference was detected only at intensities above 6 mA. The threshold varied within a given patient for different naming areas in 22% of cases. Stimulation of the same naming area with greater intensities led to slight changes in the type of response in 19% of cases and different types of responses in 4.5%. Naming sites detected were located in subcentimeter cortical areas (50% were less than 20 mm2), but their extent varied with the intensity of stimulation. During a brain mapping session, the same intensity of stimulation reproduced the same type of interference in 94% of the cases. There was no statistically significant difference between the mean stimulation intensities required to produce interfereince in the left inferior frontal lobe (Broca’s area), the supramarginal gyri, and the posterior temporal region.

CONCLUSIONS Intrasubject and intersubject variations of the minimum thresholds of positive naming areas and changes in the type of response and in the size of these areas according to the intensity used may limit the interpretation of data from electrostimulation in awake brain mapping. To optimize the identification of language areas during electrostimulation brain mapping, it is important to use different intensities of stimulation at the maximum possible currents, avoiding afterdischarges. This could refine the clinical results and scientific data derived from these mapping sessions.

Microvascular decompression for tinnitus

J Neurosurg 126:1148–1157, 2017

The objective of this study was to examine operative outcomes in cases of microvascular decompression (MVD) of cranial nerve (CN) VIII for tinnitus through a critical review of the literature.

METHODS Forty-three English-language articles were gathered from PubMed and analyzed. In this review, two different case types were distinguished: 1) tinnitus-only symptomatology, which was defined as a patient with tinnitus with or without sensorineural hearing loss; and 2) mixed symptomatology, which was defined as tinnitus with symptoms of other CN dysfunction. This review reports outcomes of those with tinnitus-only symptoms.

RESULTS Forty-three tinnitus-only cases were found in the literature with a 60% positive outcome rate following MVD. Analysis revealed a 5-year cutoff of preoperative symptom duration before which a good outcome can be predicted with 78.6% sensitivity, and after which a poor outcome can be predicted with 80% specificity.

CONCLUSIONS As the 60% success rate is more promising than several other therapeutic options open to the chronic tinnitus sufferer, future research into this field is warranted.

Combined thalamic and subthalamic deep brain stimulation for tremor-dominant Parkinson’s disease

Acta Neurochir (2017) 159:265–269

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the thalamic ventral intermediate (Vim) or the subthalamic nucleus (STN) reportedly improves medication-refractory Parkinson’s disease (PD) tremor. However, little is known about the potential synergic effects of combined Vim and STN DBS.

We describe a 79-year-old man with medication-refractory tremor-dominant PD. Bilateral Vim DBS electrode implantation produced insufficient improvement. Therefore, the patient underwent additional unilateral left-sided STN DBS. Whereas Vim or STN stimulation alone led to partial improvement, persisting tremor resolution occurred after simultaneous stimulation.

The combination of both targets may have a synergic effect and is an alternative option in suitable cases.

Endoventricular Deep Brain Stimulation of the Third Ventricle: Proof of Concept and Application to Cluster Headache

Neurosurgery 79:806–815, 2016

The third ventricle (3rd V) is surrounded by centers related to satiety, homeostasis, hormones, sleep, memory, and pain. Stimulation of the wall of the 3rd V could be useful to treat disorders related to dysfunction of the hypothalamus.

OBJECTIVE: To assess safety and efficacy of endoventricular electrical stimulation of the hypothalamus using a floating deep brain stimulation (DBS) lead laid on the floor of the 3rd V to treat refractory cluster headaches (CH).

METHODS: Seven patients, aged 24 to 60 years, experiencing chronic CH (mean chronic duration 5.8 6 2.5 years) were enrolled in this pilot, prospective, open study assessing the safety and potential efficacy of chronic DBS of the 3rd V. Number of attacks was collected during baseline and was compared with those occurring at 3, 6, and 12 months postoperation. Any side effects that occurred during or after surgery were reported. Effect on mood was assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale during baseline and at 6 and 12 months postoperation.

RESULTS: Insertion of the lead into the posterior 3rd V and chronic stimulation was feasible and safe in all patients. The voltage ranged from 0.9 to 2.3 volts. The most common side effect was transient trembling vision during stimulation. At 12 months, 3 of 7 patients were pain free, 2 had 90% improvement, 1 of 7 had 75% improvement, and 1 of 7 was not significantly improved.

CONCLUSION: This proof of concept demonstrates the feasibility, safety, and potential efficacy of 3rd V DBS using an endoventricular road that could be applied to treat various diseases involving hypothalamic areas. Read the rest of this entry »

Neurosurgery Department. “La Fe” University Hospital. Valencia, Spain

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