Practical Technique for Transcortical / Transventricular Colloid Cyst Removal Independent of Ventricular Size

Operative Neurosurgery 24:E61–E67, 2023

In the presence of a dilated foramen of Monro, a transcortical, transforaminal approach is considered the safest and simplest approach for resection of colloid cysts. However, in the presence of small or normal frontal horns, numerous microsurgical approaches and, often complicated, variations have been described, invariably employing forms of stereotactic navigation.

OBJECTIVE: To report an alternative, accurate, microsurgical stereotactic low-profile technique.

METHODS: The small frontal horn is stereotactically targeted as previously described. Routine equipment is used to accurately create a novel, rigid, atraumatic surgical corridor.

RESULTS: After a 7-mm corticotomy, a peel-away catheter carrying the AxiEM stylet engages the target set as the frontal horn. All joints of the endoscope holder are locked, allowing only catheter advancement (y axis) while lateral (x axis) or anteroposterior (z axis) movements are secure. Two, 7-mm retractor blades are inserted. The extremely consistent anatomy of the foramen of Monro allows en bloc microsurgical removal without unnecessary coagulation of cyst wall or choroid plexus.

CONCLUSION: Despite a plethora of approaches to the rostral third ventricle, in the presence of normal or small frontal horns, including creation of transcallosal/ interforniceal, suprachoroidal (or transchoroidal), and sub-choroidal, colloid cyst resection does not necessarily need to be convoluted. Technical nuances of an accurate, practical, minimally invasive technique are described.

A New Noninvasive Frameless Registration System for Stereotactic Cranial Biopsy

 Operative Neurosurgery 24:64–67, 2023

Although frame-based stereotactic biopsy is still considered the gold standard for brain biopsies, frameless robot-assisted stereotactic systems are now able to provide an equal level of safety and accuracy. However, both systems suffer from a lack of efficiency of the operative workflow.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the technique of a new frameless and noninvasive registration tool Neurolocate (Renishaw). This tool, combined with an intraoperative cone-beam computed tomography imaging system like O-ARM (Medtronic), might facilitate the achievement and workflow of robot-assisted stereotactic intracranial biopsies.

METHODS: Neurolocate is a 3-dimensional fiducial tool fixed directly on the Neuromate (Renishaw) robot arm. It consists of 5 radio-opaque spherical fiducials, whose geometry is constant. This tool made it possible to carry out the coregistration then the biopsy in the same operating time, following a five-step procedure described here. We retrospectively extracted selected preliminary results from our initial experience.

RESULTS: Over 1 year, 23 consecutive adult patients were biopsied with Neurolocate in our center. The mean overall operative time, from patient’s installation to skin closure, was 97 minutes ± 27 (SD). The entire procedure took place in a single location unit (operating room), which facilitated workflow and surgical planning. No invasive gesture was performed outside of the operating time.

CONCLUSION: Neurolocate is a new frameless and noninvasive registration tool that could improve workflow and flexibility for operating room management and surgical planning. It may also increase the comfort of patients undergoing robot-assisted intracranial stereotactic biopsies. The accuracy and safety profile should be addressed in specific studies.


Stereotactic posterior midline approach under direct microscopic view for biopsy of medulla oblongata tumors: technical considerations

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:1965–1968

Open and stereotactic transfrontal or transcerebellar approaches have been used to biopsy brainstem lesions.

Method In this report, a stereotactic posterior and midline approach to the distal medulla oblongata under microscopic view is described. The potential advantages and limitations are discussed, especially bilateral damage of the X nerve nuclei.

Conclusion This approach should be considered for biopsy of distal and posterior lesions. We strongly recommend the use of direct microscopic view to identify the medullary vessels, confirm the midline entry point, and avoid potential shift of the medulla. Further experience is needed to confirm safety and success rate of this approach.

Does Stereotactic Radiosurgery Have a Role in the Management of Patients Presenting With 4 or More Brain Metastases?

Neurosurgery 84:558–566, 2019

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT) are effective treatments for management of brain metastases. Prospective trials comparing the 2 modal- ities in patients with fewer than 4 brain metastases demonstrate that overall survival (OS) is similar. Intracranial failure is more common after SRS, while WBRT is associated with neurocognitive decline. As technology has advanced, fewer technical obstacles remain for treating patients with 4 or more brain metastases with SRS, but level I data supporting its use are lacking.
Observational prospective studies and retrospective series indicate that in patients with 4 or more brain metastases, performance status, total volume of intracranial disease, histology, and rate of development of new brain metastases predict outcomes more accurately than the number of brain metastases.

It may be reasonable to initially offer SRS to some patients with 4 or more brain metastases. Initiating therapy with SRS avoids the acute and late sequelae of WBRT. Multiple phase III trials of SRS vs WBRT, both currently open or under development, are directly comparing quality of life and OS for patients with 4 or more brain metastases to help answer the question of SRS appropriateness for these patients.

A novel mesial temporal stereotactic coordinate system

J Neurosurg 130:67–75, 2019

Stereotactic laser ablation and neurostimulator placement represent an evolution in staged surgical intervention for epilepsy. As this practice evolves, optimal targeting will require standardized outcome measures that compare electrode lead or laser source with postprocedural changes in seizure frequency. The authors propose and present a novel stereotactic coordinate system based on mesial temporal anatomical landmarks to facilitate the planning and delineation of outcomes based on extent of ablation or region of stimulation within mesial temporal structures.

METHODS The body of the hippocampus contains a natural axis, approximated by the interface of cornu ammonis area 4 and the dentate gyrus. The uncal recess of the lateral ventricle acts as a landmark to characterize the anteriorposterior extent of this axis. Several volumetric rotations are quantified for alignment with the mesial temporal coordinate system. First, the brain volume is rotated to align with standard anterior commissure–posterior commissure (AC-PC) space. Then, it is rotated through the axial and sagittal angles that the hippocampal axis makes with the AC-PC line.

RESULTS Using this coordinate system, customized MATLAB software was developed to allow for intuitive standardization of targeting and interpretation. The angle between the AC-PC line and the hippocampal axis was found to be approximately 20°–30° when viewed sagittally and approximately 5°–10° when viewed axially. Implanted electrodes can then be identified from CT in this space, and laser tip position and burn geometry can be calculated based on the intraoperative and postoperative MRI.

CONCLUSIONS With the advent of stereotactic surgery for mesial temporal targets, a mesial temporal stereotactic system is introduced that may facilitate operative planning, improve surgical outcomes, and standardize outcome assessment.


Robotic Stereotaxy in Cranial Neurosurgery

Neurosurgery 83:642–650, 2018

Modern-day stereotactic techniques have evolved to tackle the neurosurgical challenge of accurately and reproducibly accessing specific brain targets. Neurosurgical advances have beenmadein synergywith sophisticated technological developments and engineering innovations such as automated robotic platforms. Robotic systems offer a unique combination of dexterity, durability, indefatigability, and precision.

OBJECTIVE: To perform a systematic review of robotic integration for cranial stereotactic guidance in neurosurgery. Specifically, we comprehensively analyze the strengths and weaknesses of a spectrum of robotic technologies, past and present, including details pertaining to each system’s kinematic specifications and targeting accuracy profiles.

METHODS: Eligible articles on human clinical applications of cranial robotic-guided stereotactic systems between 1985 and 2017 were extracted from several electronic databases, with a focus on stereotactic biopsy procedures, stereoelectroencephalography, and deep brain stimulation electrode insertion.

RESULTS: Cranial robotic stereotactic systems feature serial or parallel architectures with 4 to 7 degrees of freedom, and frame-based or frameless registration. Indications for robotic assistance are diversifying, and include stereotactic biopsy, deep brain stimulation and stereoelectroencephalography electrode placement, ventriculostomy, and ablation procedures. Complication rates are low, and mainly consist of hemorrhage. Newer systems benefit fromincreasing targeting accuracy, intraoperative imaging ability, improved safety profiles, and reduced operating times.

CONCLUSION: We highlight emerging future directions pertaining to the integration of robotic technologies into future neurosurgical procedures. Notably, a trend toward miniaturization, cost-effectiveness, frameless registration, and increasing safety and accuracy characterize successful stereotactic robotic technologies.

Stereotactic laser ablation as treatment for brain metastases that recur after stereotactic radiosurgery


Neurosurg Focus 41 (4):E11, 2016

Therapeutic options for brain metastases (BMs) that recur after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) remain limited. Methods The authors provide the collective experience of 4 institutions where treatment of BMs that recurred after SRS was performed with stereotactic laser ablation (SLA).

Results Twenty-six BMs (in 23 patients) that recurred after SRS were treated with SLA (2 patients each underwent 2 SLAs for separate lesions, and a third underwent 2 serial SLAs for discrete BMs). Histological findings in the BMs treated included the following: breast (n = 6); lung (n = 6); melanoma (n = 5); colon (n = 2); ovarian (n = 1); bladder (n = 1); esophageal (n = 1); and sarcoma (n = 1). With a median follow-up duration of 141 days (range 64–794 days), 9 of the SLA-treated BMs progressed despite treatment (35%). All cases of progression occurred in BMs in which < 80% ablation was achieved, whereas no disease progression was observed in BMs in which ≥ 80% ablation was achieved. Five BMs were treated with SLA, followed 1 month later by adjuvant SRS (5 Gy daily × 5 days). No disease progression was observed in these patients despite ablation efficiency of < 80%, suggesting that adjuvant hypofractionated SRS enhances the efficacy of SLA. Of the 23 SLA-treated patients, 3 suffered transient hemiparesis (13%), 1 developed hydrocephalus requiring temporary ventricular drainage (4%), and 1 patient who underwent SLA of a 28.9-cm3 lesion suffered a neurological deficit requiring an emergency hemicraniectomy (4%). Although there is significant heterogeneity in corticosteroid treatment post-SLA, most patients underwent a 2-week taper.

Conclusions Stereotactic laser ablation is an effective treatment option for BMs in which SRS fails. Ablation of ≥ 80% of BMs is associated with decreased risk of disease progression. The efficacy of SLA in this setting may be augmented by adjuvant hypofractionated SRS.

Contemporary frameless intracranial biopsy techniques: Might variation in safety and efficacy be expected?


Acta Neurochir (2015) 157:2011–2016

Frameless stereotactic neuronavigation has proven to be a feasible technology to acquire brain biopsies with good accuracy and little morbidity and mortality. New systems are constantly introduced into the neurosurgical armamentarium, although few studies have actually evaluated and compared the diagnostic yield, morbidity, and mortality of various manufacturer’s frameless neuronavigation systems. The present study reports our experience with brain biopsy procedures performed using both the Medtronic Stealth TreonTM Vertek® and BrainLAB® Varioguide frameless stereotactic brain biopsy systems.

Patients and methods All 247 consecutive biopsies from January 2008 until May 2013 were evaluated retrospectively. One hundred two biopsies each were performed using the Medtronic (2008–2009) and BrainLAB® system (2011– 2013), respectively. The year 2010 was considered a transition year, in which 43 biopsies were performed with either system. Patient demographics, perioperative characteristics, and histological diagnosis were reviewed, and a comparison was made between the two brain biopsy systems.

Results The overall diagnostic yield was 94.6 %, i.e., 11 biopsies were nondiagnostic, 5 (4.9 %) with the Medtronic and 6 (5.9 %) with the BrainLAB® system. No differences besides the operating time (108 vs 120 min) were found between the two biopsy methods. On average, 6.6 tissue samples were taken with either technique. Peri- and postoperative complications were seen in 5.3 % and 12.9 %, consisting of three symptomatic hemorrhages (1.2 %). Biopsy-related mortality occurred in 0.8 % of all biopsies.

Conclusions Regarding diagnostic yield, complication rate, and biopsy-related mortality, there seems to be no difference between the frameless biopsy technique from Medtronic and BrainLAB®. In contemporary time, the neurosurgeon has many tools to choose from, all with a relatively fast learning curve and ever improving feasibility. Thus, the issue of choice involves not the results, but the familiarity, end-user friendliness, and overall comfort when operating the system.

Biopsy of the Superficial Cortex: Predictors of Effectiveness and Outcomes

Biopsy of the Superficial Cortex

Neurosurgery 73:224–232, 2013 

Brain biopsies of superficial cortex are performed for diagnosis of neurological diseases, but preoperative predictors of successful diagnosis and risks are lacking.

OBJECTIVE: We evaluated effectiveness and outcomes of superficial cortical biopsies and determined preoperative predictors of diagnosis, outcomes, morbidities, and mortality.

METHODS: A single-institution retrospective analysis of 170 patients who underwent open brain biopsies of superficial cortex was performed. Clinical predictors of effectiveness and outcomes were determined using univariate/multivariate analyses and a system for risk-benefit stratification was created and tested.

RESULTS: Brain biopsies led to successful diagnosis in 122 of 170 (71.8%) and affected management in 97 of 170 (57.1%) cases. Factors increasing the odds of diagnostic pathology included age older than 45 years (odds ratio [OR]: 2.67, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.34-5.27, P < .01), previous cancer diagnosis (OR: 3.64, 95% CI: 1.69-7.85, P < .001), focal (OR: 3.90, 95% CI: 1.91-8.00, P< .001) and enhancing (OR: 5.03, 95% CI: 2.41-10.52, P< .001) lesions on magnetic resonance imaging, biopsy of specific lesions on magnetic resonance imaging (OR: 9.34, 95% CI: 4.29-20.33, P < .001), and use of intraoperative navigation (OR: 6.59, 95% CI: 3.04-14.28, P < .001). Brain biopsies led to symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage, seizures, other significant morbidities, and perioperative mortality in 12.4%, 16.2%, 37.1%, and 8% of cases, respectively. Risk of postoperative intracranial hemorrhage was increased by a history of aspirin use (OR: 2.51, 95% CI: 1.23-5.28, P < .05) and age older than 60 years (OR: 2.66, 95% CI: 1.36-5.18, P < .01).

CONCLUSION: Effectiveness and risk of morbidity/mortality can be estimated preoperatively for patients undergoing open brain biopsies of the superficial cortex. Older age and specific imaging characteristics increase the odds of diagnostic biopsy. Conversely, older age and aspirin use increases the risk of postoperative complications.

Stereotactic Biopsy for Brainstem Tumors

stereotactic biopsy for brainstem tumors

Neurosurgery 72:873–882, 2013

The feasibility and safety of stereotactic biopsy for brainstem tumors (BSTs) are controversial. Although magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been reported as the preferred diagnostic tool, histopathological analysis is frequently necessary to establish a definitive diagnosis. Recent advances in molecular characterization of brainstem gliomas—accounting for the majority of BSTs—have revealed several potential targets for molecular-based therapies. Hence, a molecular stereotactic biopsy that combines histopathological diagnosis withmolecular-genetic analysis will become increasingly important for patients with BSTs.

OBJECTIVE: We conducted a systemic review and meta-analysis to determine the risks and benefits of stereotactic biopsy for BSTs.

METHODS: A systematic search in PubMed, Embase, and the Web of Science yielded 3766 potentially eligible abstracts. Meta-analysis was conducted on 38 studies describing 1480 biopsy procedures for BSTs. Primary outcome measures were diagnostic success and procedure-related complications. Data were analyzed according to standard meta-analytic techniques.

RESULTS: The weighted average proportions across the analyzed studies were: 96.2% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 94.5%-97.6%) for diagnostic success, 7.8% (95% CI: 5.6%- 10.2%) for overall morbidity, 1.7% (95% CI: 0.9%-2.7%) for permanent morbidity, and 0.9% (95% CI: 0.5%-1.4%) for mortality. Meta-regression revealed a significant correlation between diagnostic success rates and the number of biopsy procedures performed annually in each center (P = .011). Other factors did not affect the outcome measures.

CONCLUSION: Stereotactic biopsy of BSTs is safe. It allows exact histopathological diagnosis as a prerequisite for adequate treatment and opens new perspectives for the molecular characterization of these tumors as a crucial first step toward more individualized treatment concepts.

Accuracy of stimulating electrode placement in paediatric pallidal deep brain stimulation for primary and secondary dystonia

DBS in pediatric dystonia

Acta Neurochir (2013) 155:823–836

Accuracy of electrode placement is an important determinant of outcome following deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery. Data on accuracy of electrode placement into the globus pallidum interna (GPi) in paediatric patients is limited, particularly those with non-primary dystonia who often have smaller GPi. Pallidal DBS is known to bemore effective in the treatment of primary dystonia compared with secondary dystonia.

Objectives We aimed to determine if accuracy of pallidal electrode placement differed between primary, secondary and NBIA (neuronal degeneration and brain iron accumulation) associated dystonia and how this related to motor outcome following surgery.

Methods A retrospective review of a consecutive cohort of children and young people undergoing DBS surgery in a single centre. Fused in frame preoperative planning magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and postoperative computed tomography (CT) brain scans were used to determine the accuracy of placement of DBS electrode tip in Leskell stereotactic system compared with the planned target. The differences along X, Y, and Z coordinates were calculated, as was the Euclidean distance of electrode tip from the target. The relationship between proximity to target and change in Burke-Fahn-Marsden Dystonia Rating Scale at 1 year was also measured.

Results Data were collected from 88 electrodes placed in 42 patients (14 primary dystonia, 18 secondary dystonia and 10 NBIA associated dystonia). Median differences between planned target and actual position were: left-side X-axis 1.05 mm, Y-axis 0.85 mm, Z-axis 0.94 mm and Euclidean difference 2.04 mm; right-side X-axis 1.28 mm, Y-axis 0.70 mm, Z-axis 0.70 mm and Euclidean difference 2.45 mm. Accuracy did not differ between left and right-sided electrodes. No difference in accuracy was seen between primary, secondary or NBIA associated dystonia. Dystonia reduction at 1 year post surgery did not appear to relate to proximity of implanted electrode to surgical target across the cohort.

Conclusions Accuracy of surgical placement did not differ between primary, secondary or NBIA associated dystonia. Decreased efficacy of pallidal DBS in secondary and NBIA associated dystonia is unlikely to be related to difficulties in achieving the planned electrode placement.

Definition of a Stereotactic 3-Dimensional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Template of the Human Insula

3D MRI template of the insula

Neurosurgery 72[ONS Suppl 1]:ons35–ons46, 2013

This study proposes a 3-dimensional (3-D) template of the insula in the bicommissural reference system with posterior commissure (PC) as the center of coordinates.

OBJECTIVE: Using the bicommissural anterior commissure (AC)–PC reference system, this study aimed to define a template and design a method for the 3-D reconstruction of the human insula that may be used at an individual level during stereotactic surgery.

METHODS: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)–based morphometric analysis was performed on 100 cerebral cortices with normal insulae based on a 3-step procedure: Step 1: AC-PC reference system–based reconstruction of the insula from the 1-mm thick 3-D T1-weighted MRI slices. Step 2: Digitalization and superposition of the data obtained in the 3 spatial planes. Step 3: Representation of pixels as colors on a scale corresponding to the probability of localization of each insular anatomic component.

RESULTS: The morphometric analysis of the insula confirmed our previously reported findings of a more complex shape delimited by 4 peri-insular sulci. A very significant correlation between the coordinates of the main insular structures and the length of AC-PC was demonstrated. This close correlation allowed us to develop a method that allows the 3-D reconstruction of the insula from MRI slices and only requires the localization of AC and PC. This process defines an area deemed to contain insula with 100% probability.

CONCLUSION: This 3-D reconstruction of the insula should be useful to improve its localization and other cortical areas and allow the differentiation of insular cortex from opercular cortex. KEY WORDS:

The Anatomical and Electrophysiological Subthalamic Nucleus Visualized by 3-T Magnetic Resonance Imaging

The Anatomical and Electrophysiological Subthalamic Nucleus Visualized by 3-T Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Neurosurgery 71:1089–1095, 2012

Accurate localization of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) is critical to the success of deep brain stimulation surgery for Parkinson disease. Recent developments in high-field-strength magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have made it possible to visualize the STN in greater detail. However, the relationship of the MR-visualized STN to the anatomic, electrophysiological, or atlas-predicted STN remains controversial.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the size of the STN visualized on 3-T MRI compared with anatomic measurements in cadaver studies and to compare the predictions of 3-T MRI and those of the Schaltenbrand-Wahren (SW) atlas for intraoperative STN microelectrode recordings.

METHODS: We evaluated the STN by 3-T MRI and intraoperative microelectrode recordings in 20 Parkinson disease patients undergoing deep brain stimulation surgery. We compared our findings with anatomic cadaver studies and with the individually scaled SW atlas-based predictions for each patient.

RESULTS: The dimensions of the 3-T MR-visualized STN were very similar to those of the largest anatomic study (MRI length, width, and height: 9.8 6 1.6, 11.5 6 1.6, and 3.7 6 0.7 mm, respectively; n = 40; cadaver length, width, and height: 9.3 6 0.7, 10.6 6 0.9, and 3.1 6 0.5 mm, respectively; n = 100). The amount of STN traversed during intraoperative microelectrode recordings was better correlated to the 3-T MR-visualized STN than the SW atlas-predicted STN (R = 0.38 vs R = 20.17).

CONCLUSION: The STN as visualized on 3-T MRI corresponds well with cadaveric anatomic studies and intraoperative electrophysiology. STN visualization with 3-T MRI may be an improvement over SW atlas-based localization for STN deep brain stimulation surgery in Parkinson disease.

Increased Frameless Stereotactic Accuracy With High-Field Intraoperative Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Captura de pantalla 2012-12-23 a la(s) 11.07.11 

Neurosurgery 71[ONS Suppl 2]:ons321–ons328, 2012

Frameless stereotaxy commonly registers preoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to patients by using surface scalp anatomy or adhesive fiducial scalp markers. Patients’ scalps may shift slightly between preoperative imaging and final surgical positioning with pinion placement, introducing error. This might be reduced when frameless stereotaxy is performed in a high-field intraoperative MRI (iMRI), as patients are positioned before imaging. This could potentially improve accuracy.

OBJECTIVE: To compare frameless stereotactic accuracy using a high-field iMRI with that using standard preoperative MRI.

METHODS: Data were obtained in 32 adult patients undergoing frameless stereotacticguided brain tumor surgery. Stereotactic images were obtained with 1.5T MRI scanner either preoperatively (14 patients) or intraoperative (18 patients). System-generated accuracy measurements and distances from the actual center of each fiducial marker to that represented by neuronavigation were recorded. Finally, accuracy at multiple deep targets was assessed by using a life-sized human head stereotactic phantom in which fiducials were placed on deformable foam to mimic scalp.

RESULTS: System-generated accuracy measurements were significantly better for the iMRI group (mean 6 SEM = 1.04 6 0.05 mm) than for the standard group (1.82 6 0.09 mm; P , .001). Measured distances from the actual center of scalp fiducial markers to that represented by neuronavigation were also significantly smaller for iMRI (1.72 6 0.10 mm) in comparison with the standard group (3.17 6 0.22 mm; P , .001). Deep accuracy in the phantom model was significantly better with iMRI (1.67 6 0.12 mm) than standard imaging (2.28 6 0.14 mm; P = .003).

CONCLUSION: Frameless stereotactic accuracy is increased by using high-field iMRI compared with standard preoperative imaging.

Intraoperative 3D fluoroscopy in stereotactic surgery

Acta Neurochir (2012) 154:815–821. DOI 10.1007/s00701-012-1288-2

Intraoperative localisation of a stereotactic probe remains challenging. Stereotactic X-ray, the “gold standard”, as well as intraoperative magnetic resonance (MRI) and computed tomography (CT), require a dedicated operating room (OR). Fluoroscopy with crosshairs confirms only grossly the target position. An alternative would be a mobile three-dimensional (3D) fluoroscopy C-arm. To our knowledge, this is the first report on 3D C-arm fluoroscopy to verify stereotactical trajectories. The objective was to assess the feasibility of using a 3D C-arm to verify the intraoperative trajectory and target.

Methods A total of 12 stereotactic trajectories in 10 patients were analysed, comprising 8 biopsies and 4 electrode trajectories. The fluoroscopic scan was performed after implantation of the deep brain stimulation electrode or after advancing the biopsy needle to the tumour. An image set is acquired during a rotation of the 3D C-arm. The image set is reconstructed and merged to the preoperative CT scan. Calculating the vector error and the deviation assesses target and trajectory accuracy.

Results The mean trajectory deviation was 0.6 mm (±0.54 mm) and the mean vector error was 1.44 mm (±1.43 mm). There was no influence on the surgical time and the mean irradiation dosage was 401.9 cGy/cm2.

Conclusions This target and trajectory verification is feasible. Its accuracy seems comparable with MRI and CT. There is no additional time consumption. Irradiation is comparable with stereotactic X-ray.

Frameless robotically targeted stereotactic brain biopsy

J Neurosurg 116:1002–1006, 2012. (

Frameless stereotactic brain biopsy has become an established procedure in many neurosurgical centers worldwide. Robotic modifications of image-guided frameless stereotaxy hold promise for making these procedures safer, more effective, and more efficient. The authors hypothesized that robotic brain biopsy is a safe, accurate procedure, with a high diagnostic yield and a safety profile comparable to other stereotactic biopsy methods.

Methods. This retrospective study included 41 patients undergoing frameless stereotactic brain biopsy of lesions (mean size 2.9 cm) for diagnostic purposes. All patients underwent image-guided, robotic biopsy in which the Surgi-Scope system was used in conjunction with scalp fiducial markers and a preoperatively selected target and trajectory. Forty-five procedures, with 50 supratentorial targets selected, were performed.

Results. The mean operative time was 44.6 minutes for the robotic biopsy procedures. This decreased over the second half of the study by 37%, from 54.7 to 34.5 minutes (p < 0.025). The diagnostic yield was 97.8% per procedure, with a second procedure being diagnostic in the single nondiagnostic case. Complications included one transient worsening of a preexisting deficit (2%) and another deficit that was permanent (2%). There were no infections.

Conclusions. Robotic biopsy involving a preselected target and trajectory is safe, accurate, efficient, and comparable to other procedures employing either frame-based stereotaxy or frameless, nonrobotic stereotaxy. It permits biopsy in all patients, including those with small target lesions. Robotic biopsy planning facilitates careful preoperative study and optimization of needle trajectory to avoid sulcal vessels, bridging veins, and ventricular penetration.

Bilateral subthalamic deep brain stimulation using single track microelectrode recording

Acta Neurochir (2011) 153:1087–1095 DOI 10.1007/s00701-011-0953-1

Microelectrode recording (MER) is widely used during deep brain stimulation (DBS) procedures because MER can identify structural borders and eloquent structures, localize somatotopic arrangements, and provide an outline of the three-dimensional shapes of target nuclei. However, MER may cause intracranial hemorrhage. We performed single track MER during DBS procedures, analyzed the accuracy of electrode positioning with MRI, and compared the amount of air and the potential risk of intracranial hemorrhage.

Method A total of 46 electrodes were placed in 23 patients who suffered from advanced Parkinson’s disease and who underwent bilateral subthalamic nucleus DBS using single track MER. Each patient’s Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) score and levo-dopa equivalent dosage (LED) were estimated pre- and postoperatively. The accuracy of electrode positioning and fontal air thickness was measured by a pre- or postoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) merging technique.

Findings The mean electrode positioning error was 0.92 mm (0.3–2.94 mm). The mean frontal air thickness on postoperative MRI was 3.85 mm (0–10.3 mm), which did not affect the electrode accuracy statistically (p=0.730). A total of nine electrodes required repositioning after single-track MER because they affected microstimulation or because an abnormally short STN length was observed during MER. In this series, one patient suffered from an intracranial hemorrhage after surgery that appeared to be due to venous infarction rather than related to MER.

Conclusions Although MER can facilitate accurate positioning of electrodes, multi-track MER may increase the risk of intracranial hemorrhage. The accuracy of electrode positioning appears to be acceptable under single track MER during STN DBS with careful electrophysiological and neurological monitoring. The risk of intracranial hemorrhage appears to be minimal, especially in elderly patients with atrophic brains.

Are stereotactic sample biopsies still of value in the modern management of pineal region tumours? Lessons from a single-department, retrospective series

Acta Neurochir (2011) 153:1111–1122. DOI 10.1007/s00701-010-0936-7

Recent improvements in imaging-based diagnosis, the broader application of neuroendoscopic techniques and advances in open surgery techniques mean that the need for stereotactic biopsies in the management of pineal region tumours must be reevaluated. The primary aim of this retrospective study was to establish whether stereotactic biopsy is still of value in the modern management of pineal region tumours.

Methods From 1985 to 2009, 88 consecutive patients underwent a stereotactic biopsy in our institution (51 males and 37 females; median age at presentation 30; range 2–74).

Results Accurate tissue diagnoses were obtained in all but one case (i.e. 99%). In one case (1%), three distinct stereotactic procedures were necessary to obtain a tissue diagnosis. There was no mortality or permanent morbidity associated with stereotactic biopsy. One patient (1%) presented an intra-parenchymal hematoma but no related clinical symptoms. Five patients (6%) presented transient morbidity, which lasted for between 2 days and 3 weeks after the biopsy.

Conclusions To guide subsequent treatment, we believe that histological diagnosis is paramount. Stereotactic biopsies are currently the safest and the most efficient way of obtaining this essential information. Recent improvements in stereotactic technology (particularly robotic techniques) appear to be very valuable, with almost no permanent morbidity or mortality risk and no decrease in the accuracy rate. In our opinion, other available neurosurgical techniques (such as endoscopic neurosurgery, stereotactic neurosurgery and open microsurgery) are complementary and not competitive.

Intraoperative Computed Tomography for Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery: Technique and Accuracy Assessment

Neurosurgery 68[ONS Suppl 1]:ons114–ons124, 2011. DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e31820781bc

The efficacy of deep brain stimulation (DBS) is highly dependent on the accuracy of lead placement.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the use of intraoperative computed tomography (iCT) to confirm lead location before surgical closure and to study the accuracy of this technique.

METHODS: Fifteen patients underwent awake microelectrode-guided DBS surgery in a stereotactic frame. A portable iCT scanner (Medtronic O-arm) was positioned around the patient’s head throughout the procedure and was used to confirm lead location before fixation of the lead to the skull. Images were computationally fused with preoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and lead tip coordinates with respect to the midpoint of the anterior commissure-posterior commissure line were measured. Tip coordinates were compared with those obtained from postoperative MRI.

RESULTS: iCT was integrated into standard frame-based microelectrode-guided DBS surgery with a minimal increase in surgical time or complexity. Technically adequate 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional images were obtained in all cases. Head positioning and fixation techniques that allow unobstructed imaging are described. Lead tip measurements on iCT fused with preoperative MRI were statistically indistinguishable from those obtained with postoperative MRI.

CONCLUSION: iCT can be easily incorporated into standard DBS surgery, replaces the need for C-arm fluoroscopy, and provides accurate intraoperative 3-dimensional confirmation of electrode tip locations relative to preoperative images and surgical plans. iCT fused to preoperative MRI may obviate the need for routine postoperative MRI in DBS surgery. Technical nuances that must be mastered for the efficient use of iCT during DBS implantation are described.

Stereotactic versus endoscopic surgery in periventricular lesions

Acta Neurochir (2011) 153:517–526.DOI 10.1007/s00701-010-0933-x

Endoscopic and stereotactic surgery have gained widespread acceptance as minimally invasive tools for the diagnosis of intracerebral pathologies. We investigated the specific advantages and disadvantages of each technique in the assessment of periventricular lesions.

Method This study included a retrospective series of 70 patients with periventricular lesions. Endoscopic surgery was performed in 17 patients (mean age, 37 years; range, 4 months–78 years) and stereotactic biopsy in 55 patients (mean age, 63 years; range, 23–80 years), including two patients who underwent both procedures.

Results Hydrocephalus was present in 13/17 patients in the endoscopic group (77%) and in 11/55 patients in the stereotactic group (20%). Diagnosis was achieved in all patients in the endoscopic group and in all but one patient in the stereotactic group, in whom histological diagnosis was obtained by endoscopic biopsy during a second operation. In the endoscopic group, additional procedures performed included ventriculostomy (2/17), cyst fenestration (3/17), endoscopic shunt revision (3/17) and placement of Rickham reservoirs or external cerebrospinal fluid drains (6/17). Adverse events occurred in one patient after endoscopy (chronic subdural hematoma) and in two patients after stereotactic surgery (one mild hemiparesis and one transitory paresis of the contralateral leg).

Conclusions Endoscopic and stereotactic surgery have distinct advantages and disadvantages in approaching periventricular lesions. The advantages of endoscopy encompass the possibility to perform additional surgical procedures during the same session (e.g. tumour reduction, third ventriculostomy, fenestration of a cyst). The visual control reduces the hazard of injury to anatomical structures and allows for a better control of bleeding although there is a considerable blind-out in such situations. The advantages of stereotactic surgery include a smaller approach and precise planning of the trajectory. It is usually performed under local anaesthesia. Both methods provide a safe and efficient therapeutic option in periventricular lesions with low surgical-related morbidity.