Initial experience with magnetic resonance–guided focused ultrasound stereotactic surgery for central brain lesions in young adults

J Neurosurg 137:760–767, 2022

Magnetic resonance–guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) is an incisionless procedure capable of thermoablation through the focus of multiple acoustic beams. Although MRgFUS is currently approved for the treatment of tremor in adults, its safety and feasibility profile for intracranial lesions in the pediatric and young adult population remains unknown.

METHODS The long-term outcomes of a prospective single-center, single-arm trial of MRgFUS at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, Florida, are presented. Patients 15–22 years of age with centrally located lesions were recruited, clinically consistent with WHO grade I tumors that require surgical intervention. This cohort consisted of 4 patients with hypothalamic hamartoma (HH), and 1 patient with tuberous sclerosis complex harboring a subependymal giant cell astrocytoma (SEGA).

RESULTS In each case, high-intensity FUS was used to target the intracranial lesion. Real-time MRI was used to monitor the thermoablations. Primary outcomes of interest were tolerability, feasibility, and safety of FUS. The radiographic ablation volume on intra- and postoperative MRI was also assessed. All 5 patients tolerated the procedure without any complications. Successful thermoablation was achieved in 4 of the 5 cases; the calcified SEGA was undertreated due to intratumor calcification, which prevented attainment of the target ablation temperature. The HHs underwent target tissue thermoablations that led to MR signal changes at the treatment site. For the patients harboring HHs, FUS thermoablations occurred without procedure-related complications and led to improvement in seizure control or hypothalamic hyperphagia. All 5 patients were discharged home on postoperative day 1 or 2, without any readmissions. There were no cases of hemorrhage, electrolyte derangement, endocrinopathy, or new neurological deficit in this cohort.

CONCLUSIONS This experience demonstrates that FUS thermoablation of centrally located brain lesions in adolescents and young adults can be performed safely and that it provides therapeutic benefit for associated symptoms. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT03028246


Stereotactic Radiofrequency Thermocoagulation of Hypothalamic Hamartomas With Bilateral Attachments to the Hypothalamus

Neurosurgery 91:295–303, 2022

Disconnection surgery for the treatment of epileptic hypothalamic hamartomas (HHs) is strategically difficult in cases with complex-shaped HHs, especially with bilateral hypothalamic attachments, despite its effectiveness.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the feasibility of a new approach for stereotactic radiofrequency thermocoagulation (SRT) using penetration of the third ventricle (SRT-TT) aiming to disconnect bilateral hypothalamic attachments in a single-staged, unilateral procedure.

METHODS: Ninety patients (median age at surgery, 5.0 years) who had HHs with bilateral hypothalamic attachments and were followed for at least 1 year after their last SRT were retrospectively reviewed.

RESULTS: Thirty-three patients underwent SRT-TT as initial surgery. Of the 58 patients after mid-2013 when SRT-TT was introduced, 33 underwent SRT-TT and 12 (20.7%) required reoperation (ReSRT), whereas 20 of 57 patients (35.1%) without SRT-TT underwent reoperation. Reoperation was required in significantly fewer patients aftermid-2013 (n = 12 of 58, 20.7%) than before mid-2013 (n = 15 of 32, 46.9%) (P = .01). Final seizure freedoms were not different between before and aftermid-2013 (gelastic seizure freedom, n = 30 [93.8%] vs n = 49 [84.5%] and other types of seizure freedom, n = 21 of 31 [67.7%] vs n = 32 of 38 [84.2%]). Persistent complications were less in SRT-TT than in ReSRT using the bilateral approach, but not significantly. However, hormonal replacement was required significantly more often in ReSRT using the bilateral approach (4 of 9, 44.4%) than in SRT-TT (3 of 32, 9.4%) (P = .01).

CONCLUSION: SRT-TT enabled disconnection of bilateral attachments of HHs in a singlestaged procedure, which reduced the additional invasiveness of reoperation. Moreover, SRT-TT reduced damage to the contralateral hypothalamus, with fewer endocrinological complications than the bilateral approach.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Guided Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy for Epilepsy

Neurosurgery 86 (4) E366–E382 2020

For patients with focal drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE), surgical resection of the epileptogenic zone (EZ) may offer seizure freedom and benefits for quality of life. Yet, concerns remain regarding invasiveness, morbidity, and neurocognitive side effects. Magnetic resonance-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy (MRgLITT) has emerged as a less invasive option for stereotactic ablation rather than resection of the EZ.

OBJECTIVE: To provide an introduction to MRgLITT for epilepsy, including historical development, surgical technique, and role in therapy.

METHODS: The development of MRgLITT is briefly recounted. A systematic review identified reported techniques and indication-specific outcomes of MRgLITT for DRE in human studies regardless of sample size or follow-up duration. Potential advantages and disadvantages compared to available alternatives for each indication are assessed in an unstructured review.

RESULTS: Techniques and outcomes are reported for mesial temporal lobe epilepsy, hypothalamic hamartoma, focal cortical dysplasia, nonlesional epilepsy, tuberous sclerosis, periventricular nodular heterotopia, cerebral cavernous malformations, poststroke epilepsy, temporal encephalocele, and corpus callosotomy.

CONCLUSION: MRgLITT offers access to foci virtually anywhere in the brain with minimal disruption of the overlying cortex and white matter, promising fewer neurological side effects and less surgical morbidity and pain. Compared to other ablative techniques, MRgLITT offers immediate, discrete lesions with real-time monitoring of temperature beyond the fiber tip for damage estimates and off-target injury prevention. Applications of MRgLITT for epilepsy are growing rapidly and, although more evidence of safety and efficacy is needed, there are potential advantages for some patients.

Surgical approaches to hypothalamic hamartomas

Neurosurg Focus 30 (2):E2, 2011.(DOI: 10.3171/2010.11.FOCUS10250)

Hypothalamic hamartomas (HHs) are devastating lesions causing refractory epilepsy, rage attacks, social ineptitude, and precocious puberty. Microsurgical and/or endoscopic resection offers an excellent risk/benefit profile for cure or improvement of epilepsy.

Methods. The authors reviewed a prospective database maintained during the first 7 years of the Barrow Hypothalamic Hamartoma program. They describe and illustrate their surgical methods, and they review data from several previous publications regarding surgical outcome.

Results. To date, the authors have performed surgery in 165 patients for symptomatic HHs. Patients underwent an endoscopic, transcallosal, or skull base approach, or multiple approaches. Twenty-six patients (15.8%) required more than 1 treatment for their HH.

Conclusions. Microsurgical and endoscopic resection of symptomatic HHs are technically demanding but can be performed safely with excellent results and an acceptable risk profile. Meticulous attention to the subtleties of surgical management helps optimize outcomes.