Functional DTI tractography in brainstem cavernoma surgery

J Neurosurg 135:712–721, 2021

Surgical resection of brainstem cavernomas is associated with high postoperative morbidity due to the density of local vulnerable structures. Classical mapping of pathways by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has proven to be unspecific and confusing in many cases. In the current study, the authors aimed to establish a more reliable, specific, and objective method for somatotopic visualization of the descending motor pathways with navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (nTMS)–based DTI fiber tracking.

METHODS Twenty-one patients with brainstem cavernomas were examined with nTMS prior to surgery. The resting motor threshold (RMT) and cortical representation areas of hand, leg, and facial function were determined on both hemispheres. Motor evoked potential (MEP)–positive stimulation spots were then set as seed points for tractography. Somatotopic fiber tracking was performed at a fractional anisotropy (FA) value of 75% of the individual FA threshold.

RESULTS Mapping of the motor cortex and tract reconstruction for hand, leg, and facial function was successful in all patients. The somatotopy of corticospinal and corticonuclear tracts was also clearly depicted on the brainstem level. Higher preoperative RMT values were associated with a postoperative motor deficit (p < 0.05) and correlated with a lower FA threshold (p < 0.05), revealing structural impairment of the corticospinal tract (CST) prior to surgery. In patients with a new deficit, the distance between the lesion and CST was below 1 mm.

CONCLUSIONS nTMS-based fiber tracking enables objective somatotopic tract visualization on the brainstem level and provides a valuable instrument for preoperative planning, intraoperative orientation, and individual risk stratification. nTMS may thus increase the safety of surgical resection of brainstem cavernomas.

 

Identification of cranial nerves around trigeminal schwannomas using diffusion tensor tractography

Identification of cranial nerves around trigeminal schwannomas using diffusion tensor tractography

Acta Neurochir (2016) 158:429–435

There are no large series studies identifying the locations of cranial nerves (CNs) around trigeminal schwannomas (TSs); however, surgically induced cranial neuropathies are commonly observed after surgeries to remove TSs. In this study, we preoperatively identified the location of CNs near TSs using diffusion tensor tractography (DTT).

Methods An observational study of the DTT results and intraoperative findings was performed. We preoperatively completed tractography from images of patients with TSs who received surgical therapy. The result was later validated during tumorectomy.

Results A total of three consecutive patients were involved in this study. The locations of CNs V-VIII in relation to the tumor was clearly revealed in all cases, except for CN VI in case 3.The predicted fiber tracts were in agreement with intraoperative observations.

Conclusions In this study, preoperative DTT accurately predicted the location of the majority of the nerves of interest. This technique can be applied by surgeons to preoperatively visualize nerve arrangements.

Combined use of diffusion tensor tractography and multifused contrast-enhanced FIESTA for predicting facial and cochlear nerve positions in relation to vestibular schwannoma

Combined use of diffusion tensor tractography and multifused contrast-enhanced FIESTA for predicting facial and cochlear nerve positions in relation to vestibular schwannoma

J Neurosurg 123:1480–1488, 2015

The authors assessed whether the combined use of diffusion tensor tractography (DTT) and contrastenhanced (CE) fast imaging employing steady-state acquisition (FIESTA) could improve the accuracy of predicting the courses of the facial and cochlear nerves before surgery.

Methods The population was composed of 22 patients with vestibular schwannoma in whom both the facial and cochlear nerves could be identified during surgery. According to DTT, depicted fibers running from the internal auditory canal to the brainstem were judged to represent the facial or vestibulocochlear nerve. With regard to imaging, the authors investigated multifused CE-FIESTA scans, in which all 3D vessel models were shown simultaneously, from various angles. The low-intensity areas running along the tumor from brainstem to the internal auditory canal were judged to represent the facial or vestibulocochlear nerve.

Results For all 22 patients, the rate of fibers depicted by DTT coinciding with the facial nerve was 13.6% (3/22), and that of fibers depicted by DTT coinciding with the cochlear nerve was 63.6% (14/22). The rate of candidates for nerves predicted by multifused CE-FIESTA coinciding with the facial nerve was 59.1% (13/22), and that of candidates for nerves predicted by multifused CE-FIESTA coinciding with the cochlear nerve was 4.5% (1/22). The rate of candidates for nerves predicted by combined DTT and multifused CE-FIESTA coinciding with the facial nerve was 63.6% (14/22), and that of candidates for nerves predicted by combined DTT and multifused CE-FIESTA coinciding with the cochlear nerve was 63.6% (14/22). The rate of candidates predicted by DTT coinciding with both facial and cochlear nerves was 0.0% (0/22), that of candidates predicted by multifused CE-FIESTA coinciding with both facial and cochlear nerves was 4.5% (1/22), and that of candidates predicted by combined DTT and multifused CE-FIESTA coinciding with both the facial and cochlear nerves was 45.5% (10/22).

Conclusions By using a combination of DTT and multifused CE-FIESTA, the authors were able to increase the number of vestibular schwannoma patients for whom predicted results corresponded with the courses of both the facial and cochlear nerves, a result that has been considered difficult to achieve by use of a single modality only. Although the 3D image including these prediction results helped with comprehension of the 3D operative anatomy, the reliability of prediction remains to be established.

The utility of preoperative diffusion tensor imaging in the surgical management of brainstem cavernous malformations

The utility of preoperative diffusion tensor imaging in the surgical management of brainstem cavernous malformations

J Neurosurg 122:653–662, 2015

Resection of brainstem cavernous malformations (BSCMs) may reduce the risk of stepwise neurological deterioration secondary to hemorrhage, but the morbidity of surgery remains high. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and diffusion tensor tractography (DTT) are neuroimaging techniques that may assist in the complex surgical planning necessary for these lesions. The authors evaluate the utility of preoperative DTI and DTT in the surgical management of BSCMs and their correlation with functional outcome.

Methods A retrospective review was conducted to identify patients who underwent resection of a BSCM between 2007 and 2012. All patients had preoperative DTI/DTT studies and a minimum of 6 months of clinical and radiographic follow-up. Five major fiber tracts were evaluated preoperatively using the DTI/DTT protocol: 1) corticospinal tract, 2) medial lemniscus and medial longitudinal fasciculus, 3) inferior cerebellar peduncle, 4) middle cerebellar peduncle, and 5) superior cerebellar peduncle. Scores were applied according to the degree of distortion seen, and the sum of scores was used for analysis. Functional outcomes were measured at hospital admission, discharge, and last clinic visit using modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores.

Results Eleven patients who underwent resection of a BSCM and preoperative DTI were identified. The mean age at presentation was 49 years, with a male-to-female ratio of 1.75:1. Cranial nerve deficit was the most common presenting symptom (81.8%), followed by cerebellar signs or gait/balance difficulties (54.5%) and hemibody anesthesia (27.2%). The majority of the lesions were located within the pons (54.5%). The mean diameter and estimated volume of lesions were 1.21 cm and 1.93 cm3, respectively. Using DTI and DTT, 9 patients (82%) were found to have involvement of 2 or more major fiber tracts; the corticospinal tract and medial lemniscus/medial longitudinal fasciculus were the most commonly affected. In 2 patients with BSCMs without pial presentation, DTI/DTT findings were important in the selection of the surgical approach. In 2 other patients, the results from preoperative DTI/DTT were important for selection of brainstem entry zones. All 11 patients underwent gross-total resection of their BSCMs. After a mean postoperative follow-up duration of 32.04 months, all 11 patients had excellent or good outcome (mRS Score 0–3) at the time of last outpatient clinic evaluation. DTI score did not correlate with long-term outcome.

Conclusions Preoperative DTI and DTT should be considered in the resection of symptomatic BSCMs. These imaging studies may influence the selection of surgical approach or brainstem entry zones, especially in deep-seated lesions without pial or ependymal presentation. DTI/DTT findings may allow for more aggressive management of lesions previously considered surgically inaccessible. Preoperative DTI/DTT changes do not appear to correlate with functional postoperative outcome in long-term follow-up.

Diffusion tensor tractography in deep brain stimulation

Diffusion tensor tractography in deep brain stimulation

J Neurosurg 121:929–935, 2014

The purpose of this study was to investigate whether diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of the corticospinal tract (CST) is a reliable surrogate for intraoperative macrostimulation through the deep brain stimulation (DBS) leads. The authors hypothesized that the distance on MRI from the DBS lead to the CST as determined by DTI would correlate with intraoperative motor thresholds from macrostimulations through the same DBS lead.

Methods. The authors retrospectively reviewed pre- and postoperative MRI studies and intraoperative macrostimulation recordings in 17 patients with Parkinson disease (PD) treated by DBS stimulation. Preoperative DTI tractography of the CST was coregistered with postoperative MRI studies showing the position of the DBS leads. The shortest distance and the angle from each contact of each DBS lead to the CST was automatically calculated using software-based analysis. The distance measurements calculated for each contact were evaluated with respect to the intraoperative voltage thresholds that elicited a motor response at each contact.

Results. There was a nonsignificant trend for voltage thresholds to increase when the distances between the DBS leads and the CST increased. There was a significant correlation between the angle and the voltage, but the correlation was weak (coefficient of correlation [R] = 0.36).

Conclusions. Caution needs to be exercised when using DTI tractography information to guide DBS lead placement in patients with PD. Further studies are needed to compare DTI tractography measurements with other approaches such as microelectrode recordings and conventional intraoperative MRI–guided placement of DBS leads.

Dentatorubrothalamic tract in human brain: diffusion tensor tractography study

Neuroradiology (2011) 53:787–791.DOI 10.1007/s00234-011-0878-7
The dentatorubrothalamic tract (DRTT) originates from the dentate nucleus in the cerebellum and terminates in the contralateral ventrolateral nucleus (VL) of the thalamus after decussating to the contralateral red nucleus. Identification of the DRTT is difficult due to the fact that it is a long, multisynaptic, neural tract crossing to the opposite hemisphere. In the current study, we attempted to identify the DRTT in the human brain using a probabilistic tractography technique of diffusion tensor imaging.
Methods Diffusion tensor imaging was performed at 1.5-T using a synergy-L sensitivity encoding head coil. DRTTs were obtained by selection of fibers passing through three regions of interest (the dentate nucleus, the superior cerebellar peduncle, and the contralateral red nucleus) from 41 healthy volunteers. Probabilistic mapping was obtained from the highest probabilistic location at 2.3 mm above the anterior commissure–posterior commissure level.
Results DRTTs of all subjects, which originated from the dentate nucleus, ascended through the junction of the superior cerebellar peduncle and the contralateral red nucleus and then terminated at the VL nucleus of the thalamus. The highest probabilistic location for the DRTT at the thalamus was compatible with the location of the VL nucleus.
Conclusions We identified the DRTT in the human brain using probabilistic tractography. Our results could be useful in research on movement control.

Dentatorubrothalamic tract in human brain: diffusion tensor tractography study

Neuroradiology(2011)53:787–791.DOI 10.1007/s00234-011-0878-7
The dentatorubrothalamic tract (DRTT) originates  from the dentate nucleus in the cerebellum and terminates in the contralateral ventrolateral nucleus (VL) of the thalamus after decussating to the contralateral red nucleus. Identification of the DRTT is difficult due to the fact that it is a long, multisynaptic, neural tract crossing to the opposite hemisphere.
In the current study, we attempted to identify the DRTT in the human brain using a probabilistic tractography technique of diffusion tensor imaging.
Methods Diffusion tensor imaging was performed at 1.5-T using a synergy-L sensitivity encoding head coil. DRTTs were obtained by selection of fibers passing through three regions of interest (the dentate nucleus, the superior cerebellar peduncle, and the contralateral red nucleus) from 41 healthy volunteers. Probabilistic mapping was obtained from the highest probabilistic location at 2.3 mm above the anterior commissure–posterior commissure level.
Results DRTTs of all subjects, which originated from the dentate nucleus, ascended through the junction of the superior cerebellar peduncle and the contralateral red nucleus and then terminated at the VL nucleus of the thalamus. The highest probabilistic location for the DRTT at the thalamus was compatible with the location of the VL nucleus.
Conclusions We identified the DRTT in the human brain using probabilistic tractography. Our results could be useful in research on movement control.

Tractography of the amygdala and hippocampus: anatomical study and application to selective amygdalohippocampectomy

J Neurosurg 113:1135–1143, 2010.(DOI: 10.3171/2010.3.JNS091832)

The aim of this study was to evaluate, using diffusion tensor tractography, the white matter fibers crossing the hippocampus and the amygdala, and to perform a volumetric analysis and an anatomical study of the connections of these 2 structures. As a second step, the authors studied the white matter tracts crossing a virtual volume of resection corresponding to a selective amygdalo-hippocampectomy.

Methods. Twenty healthy right-handed individuals underwent 3-T MR imaging. Volumetric regions of interest were manually created to delineate the amygdala, the hippocampus, and the volume of resection. White matter fiber tracts were parcellated using the fiber assignment for continuous tracking tractography algorithm. All fibers were registered with the anatomical volumes.

Results. In all participants, the authors identified fibers following the hippocampus toward the fornix, the splenium of the corpus callosum, and the dorsal hippocampal commissure. With respect to the fibers crossing the amygdala, the authors identified the stria terminalis and the uncinate fasciculus. The virtual resection disrupted part of the fornix, fibers connecting the 2 hippocampi, and fibers joining the orbitofrontal cortex. The approach created a theoretical frontotemporal disconnection and also interrupted fibers joining the temporal pole and the occipital area.

Conclusions. This diffusion tensor tractography study allowed for good visualization of some of the connections of the amygdala and hippocampus. The authors observed that the virtual selective amygdalohippocampectomy disconnected a large number of fibers connecting frontal, temporal, and occipital areas

Tract-specific analysis of white matter pathways in healthy subjects: a pilot study using diffusion tensor MRI

Neuroradiology (2009) 51:831–840. DOI 10.1007/s00234-009-0580-1

To date, very scant data is available regarding normal diffusion properties of white matter (WM) fibers. The present study aimed to initiate the establishment of a database of normal diffusion tensor metrics of cerebral WM fibers, including the uncinate fasciculus (UF), posterior cingulum (PC), fornix, and corticospinal tract (CST) for healthy adults using tract-specific analysis by diffusion tensor tractography (DTT).We also attempted to clarify whether age and laterality exerted any effects on this study group.

Methods DTT of WM fibers were generated for 100 healthy subjects, then mean diffusivity (MD) and fractional anisotropy (FA) of the tracts were measured. Pearson correlation analysis was used to evaluate age relationships. Paired t testing was used to compare hemispheric asymmetry. Interobserver correlation tests were also performed.

Results Our results showed FA values for UF (right, 0.42±0.03; left, 0.40±0.03), PC (0.51±0.06, 0.52±0.06), fornix (0.37±0.06, 0.38±0.06), CST (0.70±0.06, 0.69±0.07), and MD values for UF (0.81±0.03, 0.82±0.04), PC (0.72±0.03, 0.72±0.04), fornix (1.86±0.32, 1.94±0.37), and CST (0.72±0.03, 0.74±0.04). We identified a significant positive

correlation between age and MD in the right UF and bilateral fornices, and a negative correlation between age and FA in bilateral fornices. Hemispheric asymmetry was observed in FA of UF (right>left) and MD of CST (left>right).

Conclusions The results constitute a normative dataset for diffusion parameters of four WM tracts that can be used to identify, characterize, and establish the significance of changes in diseases affecting specific tracts.