Dorsal column mapping in resection of intramedullary spinal cord tumors: a prospective comparison of two methods and neurological follow‑up

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:3493–3504

In surgery for intramedullary spinal cord tumors (imSCT), distortion of the anatomy challenges the visual identification of dorsal columns (DC) for midline myelotomy. Dorsal column mapping (DCM) and spinal cord stimulation (SCS) can identify DC neurophysiologically. We compare application and feasibility of both methods.

Methods Patients with surgically treated imSCT were prospectively included between 04/2017 and 06/2019. The anatomical midline (AM) was marked. SSEPs at the DC after stimulation of tibial/median nerve with an 8-channel DCM electrode and cortical SSEP phase reversal at C3/C4 after SCS using a bipolar concentric probe were recorded. Procedural and technical aspects were compared. Standardized neurological examinations were performed preoperatively, 1 week postoperatively and after more than 12 months.

Results The DCM electrode detected the midline in 9/13 patients with handling limitations in the remaining patients. SCS was applicable in all patients with determination of the midline in 9/13. If both recordings could be acquired (6/13), concordance was 100%. If baseline SSEPs were poor, both methods were limited. SCS was less time-consuming (p = 0.001), cheaper, and easier to handle. In 92% of cases, the AM and neurophysiologic midlines were concordant. After myelotomy, 3 patients experienced > 50% reduction in amplitude of SSEPs. Despite early postoperative worsening of DC function, longterm follow-up showed significant recovery and improvement in quality of life.

Conclusion DCM and SCS may help confirm and correct the AM for myelotomy in imSCT, leading to a favorable longterm neurological outcome in this cohort. SCS evolved to be superior concerning applicability, cost-effectiveness, and time expenditure.

Meningiomas of the rolandic region: risk factors for motor deficit and role of intra‑operative monitoring

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:1707–1716

Meningiomas of the rolandic region are associated to high risk of postoperative motor deficits. This study discusses the factors affecting motor outcome and recurrences from the analysis of a monoinstitutional case series and eight studies from a literature review.

Methods Data of 75 patients who underwent surgery for meningioma of the rolandic region were retrospectively reviewed. The analyzed factors included tumor location and size, clinical presentation, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and surgical findings, brain-tumor interface, extent of resection, postoperative outcome and recurrence. Eight studies from literature on rolandic meningiomas treated with or without intraoperative monitoring (IOM) were reviewed with the aim to define the impact of IOM on the extent of resection and motor outcome.

Results Among the 75 patients of the personal series, the meningioma was on the brain convexity in 34 (46%), at the parasagittal region in 28 (37%) and at the falx in 13 (17%). The brain-tumor interface was preserved in 53 cases (71%) at MRI and in 56 (75%) at surgical exploration. Simpson grade I resection was obtained in 43% of patients, grade II in 33%, grade III in 15% and grade IV in 9%. The motor function worsened postoperatively in 9 among 32 cases with preoperative deficit (28%) and in 5 among 43 with no preoperative deficit (11.5%); definitive motor deficit was evidenced in overall series at follow-up in 7 (9.3%). Patients with meningioma with lost arachnoid interface had significant higher rates of worsened postoperative motor deficit (p = 0.01) and seizures (p = 0.033). Recurrence occurred in 8 patients (11%). The analysis of the 8 reviewed studies (4 with and 4 without IOM) shows in the group without IOM higher rates of Simpson grades I and II resection (p = 0.02) and lower rates of grades IV resection (p = 0.002); no significant differences in postoperative immediate and long-term motor deficits were evidenced between the two groups.

Conclusions Data from literature review show that the use of IOM does not affect the postoperative motor deficit Therefore, its role in rolandic meningiomas resection remains to be determined and will be defined in further studies.

Fiber-Optic Intracranial Pressure Monitoring System Using Wi-Fi—An In Vivo Study

Neurosurgery 92:647–656, 2023

Continuous invasive monitoring of intracranial pressure (ICP) is essential in neurocritical care for surveillance and management of raised ICP. Fluid-based systems and strain gauge microsensors remain the current standard. In the past few decades, several studies with wireless monitoring were developed aiming to reduce invasiveness and complications.

OBJECTIVE: To describe a novel Wi-Fi fiber-optic device for continuous ICP monitoring using smartphone in a swine model.

METHODS: Two ICP sensors (wireless prototype and wire-based reference) were implanted in the cerebral parenchyma of a swine model for a total of 120 minutes of continuous monitoring. Every 5 minutes, jugular veins compression was performed to evaluate ICP changes. The experimentation was divided in 3 phases for comparison and analysis.

RESULTS: Phase 1 showed agreement in ICP changes for both sensors during jugular compression and releasing, with a positive and strong Spearman correlation (r = 0.829, P < .001). Phase 2 started after inversion of the sensors in the burr holes; there was a positive and moderately weak Spearman correlation (r = 0.262, P < .001). For phase 3, the sensors were returned to the first burr holes; the prototype behaved similarly to the reference sensor, presenting a positive and moderately strong Spearman correlation (r = 0.669, P < .001).

CONCLUSION: A Wi-Fi ICP monitoring system was demonstrated in a comprehensive and feasible way. It was possible to observe, using smartphone, an adequate correlation regarding ICP variations. Further adaptations are already being developed.

Preservation of language function by mapping the arcuate fasciculus using intraoperative corticocortical evoked potential under general anesthesia in glioma surgery

J Neurosurg 137:1535–1543, 2022

Intraoperative language mapping under general anesthesia is imperative for brain tumor surgery because awake surgery is not always feasible. Monitoring corticocortical evoked potential (CCEP) is known to be a useful method for tracking neuronal connectivity and localizing functional areas. The authors evaluated the clinical benefit of intraoperative CCEP monitoring for language function preservation in patients undergoing glioma surgery.

METHODS Between January 2019 and June 2021, the authors performed a total of 29 consecutive glioma surgeries using CCEP monitoring under general anesthesia because of a risk of speech impairment; these were analyzed. Language area mapping was implemented by the anterior language area to posterior language area CCEP method for arcuate fasciculus mapping, and tumor resection was performed while avoiding the localized language areas. Language function before and after surgery was evaluated by the Controlled Oral Word Association Test (COWAT).

RESULTS Intraoperative CCEP was successfully monitored in 25 patients (86.2%), and a valid signal was undetectable in the other 4 patients. Language function evaluation was possible before and after surgery in a total of 20 patients. Overall, the preservation rate of language function was 65.0%, and the deterioration rate was 35.0% after tumor resection with CCEP monitoring. Among those 8 patients with preoperative COWAT scores ≥ 18, 5 patients (62.5%) successfully preserved their language function, with COWAT scores > 18 after tumor resection. Among the 12 patients with preoperative deteriorated language function (COWAT score < 18), 8 patients (66.7%) showed improvement or preserved language function after surgery.

CONCLUSIONS Intraoperative CCEP monitoring of the arcuate fasciculus is an acceptable technology for the preservation of language function under general anesthesia in glioma surgery in patients in whom awake surgery is not feasible.

A systematic review with meta‑analysis of the diagnostic test accuracy of pedicle screw electrical stimulation

European Spine Journal (2022) 31:1599–1610

Purpose To provide a systematic review with meta-analysis providing evidence of the current diagnostic test accuracy (DTA) of pedicle screw electrical stimulation.

Methods A systematic database search on PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science was performed according to the PRISMADTA guidelines, and eligibility criteria applied to reduce the results to: (1) only journal articles reporting electrical stimulation of the pedicle screw head, (2) screw position confirmation by imaging techniques, and (3) enough information allowing the calculation of a 2 × 2 contingency table. Sample characteristics, image confirmation method, electrical current threshold and stimulation results were retrieved and analyzed using according to appropriate DTA analysis methods, and allowing the calculation of specificity, sensitivity for pedicle screws insertion at the lumbar and thoracic levels.

Results Lumbar screw stimulation presents a higher sensitivity (0.586 [0.336, 0.798] and specificity (0.984 [0.958, 0.994]) than thoracic screws (sensitivity: 0.270 [0.096; 0.562]; specificity: 0.958 [0.931, 0.975]). The same is observed in terms of the diagnostic odds ratio for lumbar (88.32 [32.136, 242.962]) and thoracic (8.460 [2.139, 33.469]) levels. When performing a sub-group analysis, it is possible to divide the lumbar stimulation threshold as 8 and 10–12 mA, and the thoracic threshold as 6 and 9–12 mA. A threshold of 8 mA at the lumbar level provides higher sensitivity and specificity. Increasing the threshold results in higher specificity but not sensitivity. In fact, at the range of 10–12 mA, the diagnostic validity is too low to confer this technique any robust diagnostic validity. Similarly, at the thoracic level, lower threshold currents are associated with increased sensitivity, but their diagnostic validity is very low.

Conclusion Electrical stimulation of the pedicle screw can be used as an adequate diagnostic capability at the lumbar level with a threshold of 8 mA. However, thoracic stimulation is currently not reliable, with very low sensitivity and diagnostic validity at 6 mA or higher.