Recurrent insular low-grade gliomas: factors guiding the decision to reoperate

J Neurosurg 138:1216–1226, 2023

Reoperation has been established as an effective therapeutic strategy in recurrent diffuse low-grade gliomas (LGGs). Insular gliomas represent a specific surgical challenge because of the surrounding vascular and functional structures. The aim of this study was to investigate the main clinicoradiological factors guiding the decision to reoperate on recurrent insular LGGs (ILGGs).

METHODS In this retrospective consecutive series, the authors screened all patients operated on for an ILGG in their institution who further presented with a tumor regrowth without the development of contrast enhancement. They compared patients who were subsequently offered a reoperation under awake mapping at recurrence or who underwent reoperation after adjuvant treatment had reduced the volume of the initial tumor recurrence (with a proven pathological diagnosis of LGG after the second surgery) to patients who were not selected for a reoperation. The first group (reoperated group; n = 20) included all recurrent ILGG patients who underwent second resection, and the second group (nonreoperated group; n = 60) included patients who did not undergo reoperation but underwent adjuvant oncological treatment.

RESULTS Factors significantly associated with reoperation were extent of resection (EOR) at first surgery (91.9% vs 89.7%, p = 0.014), residual tumor volume (9.5 ± 7.1 mL [range 0–30 mL] vs 6.3 ± 7.3 mL [range 0–30 mL], p = 0.02) at first surgery and left temporopolar infiltration at the time of tumor recurrence (Liebermeister statistical analysis, 4293 voxels survived false discovery rate correction with p < 0.05; maximal z-statistic = 6.50). Infiltration of the anterior perforated substance at tumor recurrence was significantly anticorrelated to reoperation (179 voxels survived false discovery rate correction with p < 0.05; minimal z-statistic = −4.33). The mean EOR was 83.7% at reoperation with a 90% survival rate at last follow-up (9.3 ± 3.8 years), low postsurgical morbidity (Karnofsky Performance Status score ≥ 80 in 95% of patients), a high rate of postoperative professional resumption (95%), and seizure control in 57.1% of patients.

CONCLUSIONS In selected patients with recurrent ILGG without radiographic evidence of malignant transformation, reoperation with intraoperative awake mapping is associated with favorable oncological outcomes and a low postsurgical morbidity. A greater EOR and a lower residual tumor volume at first surgery were significantly associated with reoperation. Patients who benefited from a second surgery typically had a recurrent pattern within cortical areas (such as the temporopolar region), while other patients typically presented with a deeper infiltrative pattern within the anterior perforated substance and the surrounding white matter pathways. Such original findings may be helpful to select the optimal indications of reoperation in recurrent ILGG.

Microsurgical anatomy and insular connectivity of the cerebral opercula

J Neurosurg 137:1509–1523, 2022

Radiological, anatomical, and electrophysiological studies have shown the insula and cerebral opercula to have extremely high functionality. Because of this complexity, interventions in this region cause higher morbidity compared to those in other areas of the brain. In most early studies of the insula and white matter pathways, insular dissection was begun after the opercula were removed. In this study, the authors examined the insula and deep white matter pathways to evaluate the insula as a whole with the surrounding opercula.

METHODS Twenty formalin-fixed adult cerebral hemispheres were studied using fiber microdissection techniques and examination of sectional anatomy. Dissections were performed from lateral to medial, medial to lateral, inferior to superior, and superior to inferior. A silicone brain model was used to show the normal gyral anatomy. Sections and fibers found at every stage of dissection were photographed with a professional camera. MRI tractography studies were used to aid understanding of the dissections.

RESULTS The relationships between the insula and cerebral opercula were investigated in detail through multiple dissections and sections. The relationship of the extreme and external capsules with the surrounding opercula and the fronto-occipital fasciculus with the fronto-orbital operculum was demonstrated. These findings were correlated with the tractography studies. Fibers of the extreme capsule connect the medial aspect of the opercula with the insula through the peri-insular sulcus. Medial to lateral dissections were followed with the removal of the central core structures, and in the last step, the medial surface of the cerebral opercula was evaluated in detail.

CONCLUSIONS This anatomical study clarifies our understanding of the insula and cerebral opercula, which have complex anatomical and functional networks. This study also brings a new perspective to the connection of the insula and cerebral opercula via the extreme and external capsules.

Anatomo‑functional evaluation for management and surgical treatment of insular cavernous malformation: a case series

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:1675–1684

Insular cavernous malformations (iCMs) are very rare vascular lesions. Their surgical management is chal- lenging, due to their complex functional and vascular relationship. The continuous improvement of intra-operative tools and neuroimaging techniques has progressively enhanced the safety of iCM surgery. Nevertheless, the best surgical approach remains controversial.

Objective To analyze the potential role of an anatomo-functional classification to guide the iCMs’ management.

Methods The study included patients affected by iCMs and referred to the Senior Author (FA). All cases were divided in 2 groups, according to a mainly pial growth pattern (exophytic group) or a subcortical one (endophytic group). Endophytic iCM was further subdivided in 3 subgroups, based on the insular gyri involved. According to this classification, each patient underwent a specific additional neuroimaging investigation and surgical evaluation.

Results A total of 24 patients were included. In the surgical group, trans-sylvian (TS) approach was used in 6 patients with exophytic or Zone I endophytic iCMs. The transcortical (TC) approach with awake monitoring was used in 6 cases of Zone II endophytic vascular lesions. Both TS and trans-intraparietal sulcal (TIS) approach were used for 3 cases of Zone III endophytic iCM. At follow-up, 3 patients were fully recovered from a transient speech impairment while a permanent morbidity was observed in one case.

Conclusions ICMs represent a single entity with peculiar clinical and surgical aspects. The proposed iCM classification focuses on anatomical and functional concerns, aiming to suggest the best pre-operative work-up and the surgical evaluation.

Correlation of anatomical involvement patterns of insular gliomas with subnetworks of the limbic system

J Neurosurg 136:323–334, 2022

Gliomas frequently involve the insula both primarily and secondarily by invasion. Despite the high connectivity of the human insula, gliomas do not spread randomly to or from the insula but follow stereotypical anatomical involvement patterns. In the majority of cases, these patterns correspond to the intrinsic connectivity of the limbic system, except for tumors with aggressive biology. On the basis of these observations, the authors hypothesized that these different involvement patterns may be correlated with distinct outcomes and analyzed these correlations in an institutional cohort.

METHODS Fifty-nine patients who had undergone surgery for insular diffuse gliomas and had complete demographic, pre- and postoperative imaging, pathology, molecular genetics, and clinical follow-up data were included in the analysis (median age 37 years, range 21–71 years, M/F ratio 1.68). Patients with gliomatosis and those with only minor involvement of the insula were excluded. The presence of T2-hyperintense tumor infiltration was evaluated in 12 anatomical structures. Hierarchical biclustering was used to identify co-involved structures, and the findings were correlated with established functional anatomy knowledge. Overall survival was evaluated using Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional hazards regression analysis (17 parameters).

RESULTS The tumors involved the anterior insula (98.3%), posterior insula (67.8%), temporal operculum (47.5%), amygdala (42.4%), frontal operculum (40.7%), temporal pole (39%), parolfactory area (35.6%), hypothalamus (23.7%), hippocampus (16.9%), thalamus (6.8%), striatum (5.1%), and cingulate gyrus (3.4%). A mean 4.2   2.6 structures were involved. On the basis of hierarchical biclustering, 7 involvement patterns were identified and correlated with cortical functional anatomy (pure insular [11.9%], olfactocentric [15.3%], olfactoopercular [33.9%], operculoinsular [15.3%], striatoinsular [3.4%], translimbic [11.9%], and multifocal [8.5%] patterns). Cox regression identified hippocampal involvement (p = 0.006) and postoperative tumor volume (p = 0.027) as significant negative independent prognosticators of overall survival and extent of resection (p = 0.015) as a significant positive independent prognosticator.

CONCLUSIONS The study findings indicate that insular gliomas primarily involve the olfactocentric limbic girdle and that involvement in the hippocampocentric limbic girdle is associated with a worse prognosis.

 

Surgery of Insular Diffuse Gliomas—Part 2: Probabilistic Cortico-Subcortical Atlas of Critical Eloquent Brain Structures and Probabilistic Resection Map During Transcortical Awake Resection

Neurosurgery 89:579–590, 2021

Insular diffuse glioma surgery is challenging, and tools to help surgical planning could improve the benefit-to-risk ratio.

OBJECTIVE: To provide a probabilistic resection map and frequency atlases of critical eloquent regions of insular diffuse gliomas based on our surgical experience.

METHODS: We computed cortico-subcortical “eloquent” anatomic sites identified intraoperatively by direct electrical stimulations during transcortical awake resection of insular diffuse gliomas in adults.

RESULTS: From 61 insular diffuse gliomas (39 left, 22 right; all left hemispheric dominance for language), we provided a frequency atlas of eloquence of the opercula (left/right; pars orbitalis: 0%/5.0%; pars triangularis: l5.6%/4.5%; pars opercularis: 37.8%/27.3%; precentral gyrus: 97.3%/95.4%; postcentral and supramarginal gyri: 75.0%/57.1%; temporal pole and superior temporal gyrus: 13.3%/0%), which tailored the transcortical approach (frontal operculum to reach the antero-superior insula, temporal operculum to reach the inferior insula, parietal operculum to reach the posterior insula). We provided a frequency atlas of eloquence identifying the subcortical functional boundaries (36.1% pyramidal pathways, 50.8% inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, 13.1% arcuate and superior longitudinal fasciculi complex, 3.3% somatosensory pathways, 8.2% caudate and lentiform nuclei). Vascular boundaries and increasing errors during testing limited the resection in 8.2% and 11.5% of cases, respectively. We provided a probabilistic 3-dimensional atlas of resectability.

CONCLUSION: Functional mapping under awake conditions has to be performed intraoperatively in each patient to guide surgical approach and resection of insular diffuse gliomas in right and left hemispheres. Frequency atlases of opercula eloquence and of subcortical eloquent anatomic boundaries, and probabilistic 3-dimensional atlas of resectability could guide neurosurgeons.

Surgery of Insular Diffuse Gliomas—Part 1: Transcortical Awake Resection Is Safe and Independently Improves Overall Survival

Neurosurgery 89:565–578, 2021

Insular diffuse glioma resection is at risk of vascular injury and of postoperative new neurocognitive deficits.

OBJECTIVE: To assess safety and efficacy of surgical management of insular diffuse gliomas.

METHODS: Observational, retrospective, single-institution cohort analysis (2005-2019) of 149 adult patients surgically treated for an insular diffuse glioma: transcortical awake resection with intraoperative functional mapping (awake resection subgroup, n = 61), transcortical asleep resection without functional mapping (asleep resection subgroup, n = 50), and stereotactic biopsy (biopsy subgroup, n = 38). All cases were histopathologically assessed according to the 2016World Health Organization classification and cIMPACTNOW update 3.

RESULTS: Following awake resection, 3/61 patients had permanent motor deficit, seizure control rates improved (89% vs 69% preoperatively, P = .034), and neurocognitive performance improved from 5% to 24% in tested domains, despite adjuvant oncological treatments. Resection rates were higher in the awake resection subgroup (median 94%) than in the asleep resection subgroup (median 46%; P < .001). There was more gross total resection (25% vs 12%) and less partial resection (34% vs 80%) in the awake resection subgroup than in the asleep resection subgroup (P< .001). Karnofsky Performance Status score <70 (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 2.74, P = .031), awake resection (aHR 0.21, P = .031), isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH)-mutant grade 2 astrocytoma (aHR 5.17, P = .003), IDHmutant grade 3 astrocytoma (aHR 6.11, P < .001), IDH-mutant grade 4 astrocytoma (aHR 13.36, P = .008), and IDH-wild-type glioblastoma (aHR 21.84, P < .001) were independent predictors of overall survival.

CONCLUSION:Awake surgery preserving the brain connectivity is safe, allows larger resections for insular diffuse gliomas than asleep resection, and positively impacts overall survival.

The temporoinsular projection system: an anatomical study

J Neurosurg 132:615–623, 2020

Connections between the insular cortex and the amygdaloid complex have been demonstrated using various techniques. Although functionally well connected, the precise anatomical substrate through which the amygdaloid complex and the insula are wired remains unknown. In 1960, Klingler briefly described the “fasciculus amygdaloinsularis,” a white matter tract connecting the posterior insula with the amygdala. The existence of such a fasciculus seems likely but has not been firmly established, and the reported literature does not include a thorough description and documentation of its anatomy. In this fiber dissection study the authors sought to elucidate the pathway connecting the insular cortex and the mesial temporal lobe.

METHODS Fourteen brain specimens obtained at routine autopsy were dissected according to Klingler’s fiber dissection technique. After fixation and freezing, anatomical dissections were performed in a stepwise progressive fashion.

RESULTS The insula is connected with the opercula of the frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes through the extreme capsule, which represents a network of short association fibers. At the limen insulae, white matter fibers from the extreme capsule converge and loop around the uncinate fasciculus toward the temporal pole and the mesial temporal lobe, including the amygdaloid complex.

CONCLUSIONS The insula and the mesial temporal lobe are directly connected through white matter fibers in the extreme capsule, resulting in the appearance of a single amygdaloinsular fasciculus. This apparent fasciculus is part of the broader network of short association fibers of the extreme capsule, which connects the entire insular cortex with the temporal pole and the amygdaloid complex. The authors propose the term “temporoinsular projection system” (TIPS) for this complex.

Transcortical insular glioma resection: clinical outcome and predictors

J Neurosurg 131:706–716, 2019

Insular lobe gliomas continue to challenge neurosurgeons due to their complex anatomical position. Transcortical and transsylvian corridors remain the primary approaches for reaching the insula, but the adoption of one technique over the other remains controversial. The authors analyzed the transcortical approach of resecting insular gliomas in the context of patient tumor location based on the Berger-Sinai classification, achievable extents of resection (EORs), overall survival (OS), and postsurgical neurological outcome.

METHODS The authors studied 255 consecutive cases of insular gliomas that underwent transcortical tumor resection in their division. Tumor molecular pathology, location, EOR, postoperative neurological outcome for each insular zone, and the accompanying OS were incorporated into the analysis to determine the value of this surgical approach.

RESULTS Lower-grade insular gliomas (LGGs) were more prevalent (63.14%). Regarding location, giant tumors (involving all insular zones) were most prevalent (58.82%) followed by zone I+IV (anterior) tumors (20.39%). In LGGs, tumor location was an independent predictor of survival (p = 0.003), with giant tumors demonstrating shortest patient survival (p = 0.003). Isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) mutation was more likely to be associated with giant tumors (p < 0.001) than focal tumors located in a regional zone. EOR correlated with survival in both LGG (p = 0.001) and higher-grade glioma (HGG) patients (p = 0.008). The highest EORs were achieved in anterior-zone LGGs (p = 0.024). In terms of developing postoperative neurological deficits, patients with giant tumors were more susceptible (p = 0.038). Postoperative transient neurological deficit was recorded in 12.79%, and permanent deficit in 15.70% of patients. Patients who developed either transient or permanent postsurgical neurological deficits exhibited poorer survival (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS The transcortical surgical approach can achieve maximal tumor resection in all insular zones. In addition, the incorporation of adjunct technologies such as multimodal brain imaging and mapping of cortical and subcortical eloquent brain regions into the transcortical approach favors postoperative neurological outcomes, and prolongs patient survival.

Transcortical insular glioma resection: clinical outcome and predictors

J Neurosurg 131:706–716, 2019

OBJECTIVE Insular lobe gliomas continue to challenge neurosurgeons due to their complex anatomical position. Transcortical and transsylvian corridors remain the primary approaches for reaching the insula, but the adoption of one technique over the other remains controversial. The authors analyzed the transcortical approach of resecting insular gliomas in the context of patient tumor location based on the Berger-Sinai classification, achievable extents of resection (EORs), overall survival (OS), and postsurgical neurological outcome.

METHODS The authors studied 255 consecutive cases of insular gliomas that underwent transcortical tumor resection in their division. Tumor molecular pathology, location, EOR, postoperative neurological outcome for each insular zone, and the accompanying OS were incorporated into the analysis to determine the value of this surgical approach.

RESULTS Lower-grade insular gliomas (LGGs) were more prevalent (63.14%). Regarding location, giant tumors (involving all insular zones) were most prevalent (58.82%) followed by zone I+IV (anterior) tumors (20.39%). In LGGs, tumor location was an independent predictor of survival (p = 0.003), with giant tumors demonstrating shortest patient survival (p = 0.003). Isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) mutation was more likely to be associated with giant tumors (p < 0.001) than focal tumors located in a regional zone. EOR correlated with survival in both LGG (p = 0.001) and higher-grade glioma (HGG) patients (p = 0.008). The highest EORs were achieved in anterior-zone LGGs (p = 0.024). In terms of developing postoperative neurological deficits, patients with giant tumors were more susceptible (p = 0.038). Postoperative transient neurological deficit was recorded in 12.79%, and permanent deficit in 15.70% of patients. Patients who developed either transient or permanent postsurgical neurological deficits exhibited poorer survival (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS The transcortical surgical approach can achieve maximal tumor resection in all insular zones. In addition, the incorporation of adjunct technologies such as multimodal brain imaging and mapping of cortical and subcortical eloquent brain regions into the transcortical approach favors postoperative neurological outcomes, and prolongs patient survival.

 

Insular glioma surgery: an evolution of thought and practice


J Neurosurg 130:9–16, 2019

The goal of this article is to review the history of surgery for low- and high-grade gliomas located within the insula with particular focus on microsurgical technique, anatomical considerations, survival, and postoperative morbidity.

METHODS The authors reviewed the literature for published reports focused on insular region anatomy, neurophysiol- ogy, surgical approaches, and outcomes for adults with World Health Organization grade II–IV gliomas.

RESULTS While originally considered to pose too great a risk, insular glioma surgery can be performed safely due to the collective efforts of many individuals. Similar to resection of gliomas located within other cortical regions, maximal resection of gliomas within the insula offers patients greater survival time and superior seizure control for both newly diagnosed and recurrent tumors in this region. The identification and the preservation of M2 perforating and lateral len- ticulostriate arteries are critical steps to preventing internal capsule stroke and hemiparesis. The transcortical approach and intraoperative mapping are useful tools to maximize safety.

CONCLUSIONS The insula’s proximity to middle cerebral and lenticulostriate arteries, primary motor areas, and perisyl- vian language areas makes accessing and resecting gliomas in this region challenging. Maximal safe resection of insular gliomas not only is possible but also is associated with excellent outcomes and should be considered for all patients with low- and high-grade gliomas in this area.

Microsurgical anatomy of the central core of the brain

J Neurosurg 129:752–769, 2018

The purpose of this study was to describe in detail the cortical and subcortical anatomy of the central core of the brain, defining its limits, with particular attention to the topography and relationships of the thalamus, basal ganglia, and related white matter pathways and vessels.

METHODS The authors studied 19 cerebral hemispheres. The vascular systems of all of the specimens were injected with colored silicone, and the specimens were then frozen for at least 1 month to facilitate identification of individual fiber tracts. The dissections were performed in a stepwise manner, locating each gray matter nucleus and white matter pathway at different depths inside the central core. The course of fiber pathways was also noted in relation to the insular limiting sulci.

RESULTS The insular surface is the most superficial aspect of the central core and is divided by a central sulcus into an anterior portion, usually containing 3 short gyri, and a posterior portion, with 2 long gyri. It is bounded by the anterior limiting sulcus, the superior limiting sulcus, and the inferior limiting sulcus. The extreme capsule is directly underneath the insular surface and is composed of short association fibers that extend toward all the opercula. The claustrum lies deep to the extreme capsule, and the external capsule is found medial to it. Three fiber pathways contribute to form both the extreme and external capsules, and they lie in a sequential anteroposterior disposition: the uncinate fascicle, the inferior fronto-occipital fascicle, and claustrocortical fibers. The putamen and the globus pallidus are between the external capsule, laterally, and the internal capsule, medially. The internal capsule is present medial to almost all insular limiting sulci and most of the insular surface, but not to their most anteroinferior portions. This anteroinferior portion of the central core has a more complex anatomy and is distinguished in this paper as the “anterior perforated substance region.” The caudate nucleus and thalamus lie medial to the internal capsule, as the most medial structures of the central core. While the anterior half of the central core is related to the head of the caudate nucleus, the posterior half is related to the thalamus, and hence to each associated portion of the internal capsule between these structures and the insular surface. The central core stands on top of the brainstem. The brainstem and central core are connected by several white matter pathways and are not separated from each other by any natural division. The authors propose a subdivision of the central core into quadrants and describe each in detail. The functional importance of each structure is highlighted, and surgical approaches are suggested for each quadrant of the central core.

CONCLUSIONS As a general rule, the internal capsule and its vascularization should be seen as a parasagittal barrier with great functional importance. This is of particular importance in choosing surgical approaches within this region.

Stereoelectroencephalography in insular epilepsy

J Neurosurg 128:1147–1157, 2018

Insular epilepsy is relatively rare; however, exploring the insular cortex when preoperative workup raises the suspicion of insular epilepsy is of paramount importance for accurate localization of the epileptogenic zone and achievement of seizure freedom. The authors review their clinical experience with stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) electrode implantation in patients with medically intractable epilepsy and suspected insular involvement.

METHODS A total of 198 consecutive cases in which patients underwent SEEG implantation with a total of 1556 electrodes between June 2009 and April 2013 were reviewed. The authors identified patients with suspected insular involvement based on seizure semiology, scalp EEG data, and preoperative imaging (MRI, PET, and SPECT or magnetoencephalography [MEG]). Patients with at least 1 insular electrode based on the postoperative 3D reconstruction of CT fused with the preoperative MRI were included.

RESULTS One hundred thirty-five patients with suspected insular epilepsy underwent insular implantation of a total of 303 electrodes (1–6 insular electrodes per patient) with a total of 562 contacts. Two hundred sixty-eight electrodes (88.5%) were implanted orthogonally through the frontoparietal or temporal operculum (420 contacts). Thirty-five electrodes (11.5%) were implanted by means of an oblique trajectory either through a frontal or a parietal entry point (142 contacts). Nineteen patients (14.07%) had insular electrodes placed bilaterally. Twenty-three patients (17.04% of the insular implantation group and 11.6% of the whole SEEG cohort) were confirmed by SEEG to have ictal onset zones in the insula. None of the patients experienced any intracerebral hemorrhage related to the insular electrodes. After insular resection, 5 patients (33.3%) had Engel Class I outcomes, 6 patients (40%) had Engel Class II, 3 patients (20%) had Engel Class III, and 1 patient (6.66%) had Engel Class IV.

CONCLUSIONS Insula exploration with stereotactically placed depth electrodes is a safe technique. Orthogonal electrodes are implanted when the hypothesis suggests opercular involvement; however, oblique electrodes allow a higher insular sampling rate.

 

Surgical strategy to avoid ischemic complications of the pyramidal tract in resective epilepsy surgery of the insula

J Neurosurg 128:1173–1177, 2018

Surgical treatment of the insula is notorious for its high probability of motor complications, particularly when resecting the superoposterior part. Ischemic damage to the pyramidal tract in the corona radiata has been regarded as the cause of these complications, resulting from occlusion of the perforating arteries to the pyramidal tract through the insular cortex. The authors describe a strategy in which a small piece of gray matter is spared at the bottom of the periinsular sulcus, where the perforating arteries pass en route to the pyramidal tract, in order to avoid these complications.

This method was successfully applied in 3 patients harboring focal cortical dysplasia in the posterior insula and frontoparietal operculum surrounding the periinsular sulcus. None of the patients developed permanent postoperative motor deficits, and seizure control was achieved in all 3 cases.

The method described in this paper can be adopted for functional preservation of the pyramidal tract in the corona radiata when resecting epileptogenic pathologies involving insular and opercular regions.

 

Epilepsy Surgeries Requiring an Operculoinsular Cortectomy

Neurosurgery 81:602–612, 2017

Epilepsy surgeries requiring an operculoinsulectomy pose significant difficulties because the perisylvian area is highly vascular, deep, and functional.

OBJECTIVE: To report the operative technique and results of epilepsy surgeries requiring an operculoinsular cortectomy at our institution.

METHODS: The data of all consecutive patients who had undergone an epilepsy surgery requiring an operculoinsular cortectomy with a minimum follow-up of 1 yr were reviewed. Tumor and vascular malformation cases were excluded. Surgical techniques are described based on findings during surgery.

RESULTS: Twenty-five patients underwent an epilepsy surgery requiring an operculoinsular cortectomy: mean age at surgery was 35 y (9-51), mean duration of epilepsy was 19 y (5-36), 14were female, and mean duration of follow-up was 4.7 y (1-16).Magnetic resonance imaging of the operculoinsular area was normal or revealed questionable nonspecific findings in 72% of cases. Investigation with intracranial EEG electrodes was done in 17 patients. Surgery was performed on the dominant side for language in 7 patients. An opercular resectionwasperformed inallbut2patientswhoonlyhadan insulectomy.Engel class I seizure control was achieved in 80% of patients. Postoperative neurological deficits (paresis, dysphasia, alteration of taste, smell, hearing, pain, and thermal perceptions) were frequent (75%) but always transient except for 1 patient with persistent mild alteration of thermal and pain perception.

CONCLUSION: Surgical treatment of operculoinsular epilepsy is effective in achieving seizure control and is associated with an acceptable long-term complication rate.

Endovascular Management of Deep Arteriovenous Malformations

Endovascular management AVM

Neurosurgery 78:34–41, 2016

The management of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) in the basal ganglia, insula, and thalamus is demanding for all treatment modalities.

OBJECTIVE: To define safety and outcomes of embolization used as a stand-alone therapy for deep-seated AVMs.

METHODS: A cohort of 22 patients with AVMs located in the basal ganglia, thalamus, and insula who underwent embolization between January 2008 and December 2013.

RESULTS: Eighteen of 22 (82%) patients had anatomic exclusion. The mean size was 2.98 6 1.28 cm, and the mean number of sessions was 2.1 per patient. Most patients presented with hemorrhage (82%, n = 18), and 3 (14%) patients were in a deteriorated neurological status (modified Rankin Scale .2) at presentation. Sixty-eight percent of ruptured AVMs had size #3 cm. A single transarterial approach was performed in 9 (41%) cases, double catheterization was used in 4 (18%), and the transvenous approach was required in 8 (36%) cases. Procedure-related complications were registered in 3 (14%) cases. One death was associated with treatment, and complementary radiosurgery was required in 2 (9%) patients.

CONCLUSION: Embolization therapy appears to be safe and potentially curative for certain deep AVMs. Our results demonstrate a high percentage of anatomic obliteration with rates of complications that may approach radiosurgery profile. In particular, embolization as stand-alone therapy is most suitable to deep AVMs with small nidus size (#3 cm) and/or associated with single venous drainage in which microsurgery might not be indicated.

Insular low-grade glioma and postoperative seizure outcome

Surgery for insular low-grade glioma- predictors of postoperative seizure outcome

J Neurosurg 120:12–23, 2014

Although a number of recent studies on the surgical treatment of insular low-grade glioma (LGG) have demonstrated that aggressive resection leads to increased overall patient survival and decreased malignant progression, less attention has been given to the results with respect to tumor-related epilepsy. The aim of this investigation was to evaluate the impact of volumetric, histological, and intraoperative neurophysiological factors on seizure outcome in patients with insular LGG.

Methods. The authors evaluated predictors of seizure outcome with special emphasis on both the extent of tumor resection (EOR) and the tumor’s infiltrative pattern quantified by computing the difference between the preoperative T2- and T1-weighted MR images (DVT2T1) in 52 patients with preoperative drug-resistant epilepsy.

Results. The 12-month postoperative seizure outcome (Engel class) was as follows: seizure free (Class I), 67.31%; rare seizures (Class II), 7.69%; meaningful seizure improvement (Class III), 15.38%; and no improvement or worsening (Class IV), 9.62%. Poor seizure control was more common in patients with a longer preoperative seizure history (p < 0.002) and higher frequency of seizures (p = 0.008). Better seizure control was achieved in cases with EOR ≥ 90% (p < 0.001) and DVT2T1 < 30 cm3 (p < 0.001). In the final model, DVT2T1 proved to be the strongest independent predictor of seizure outcome in insular LGG patients (p < 0.0001).

Conclusions. No or little postoperative seizure improvement occurs mainly in cases with a prevalent infiltrative tumor growth pattern, expressed by high DVT2T1 values, which consequently reflects a smaller EOR.

Deep Arteriovenous Malformations in the Basal Ganglia, Thalamus, and Insula: Microsurgical Management, Techniques, and Results

Surgery for Deep AVM-1

Neurosurgery 73:417–429, 2013

Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) in the basal ganglia, thalamus, and insula are considered inoperable given their depth, eloquence, and limited surgical exposure. Although many neurosurgeons opt for radiosurgery or observation, others have challenged the belief that deep AVMs are inoperable. Further discussion of patient selection, technique, and multimodality management is needed.

OBJECTIVE: To describe and discuss the technical considerations of microsurgical resection for deep-seated AVMs.

METHODS: Patients with deep AVMs who underwent surgery during a 14-year period were reviewed through the use of a prospective AVM registry.

RESULTS: Microsurgery was performed in 48 patients with AVMs in the basal ganglia (n = 10), thalamus (n = 13), or insula (n = 25). The most common Spetzler-Martin grade was III2 (68%). Surgical approaches included transsylvian (67%), transcallosal (19%), and transcortical (15%). Complete resection was achieved in 34 patients (71%), and patients with incomplete resection were treated with radiosurgery. Forty-five patients (94%) were improved or unchanged (mean follow-up, 1.6 years).

CONCLUSION: This experience advances the notion that select deep AVMs may be operable lesions. Patients were highly selected for small size, hemorrhagic presentation, young age, and compactness—factors embodied in the Spetzler-Martin and Supplementary grading systems. Overall, 10 different approaches were used, exploiting direct, transcortical corridors created by hemorrhage or maximizing anatomic corridors through subarachnoid spaces and ventricles that minimize brain transgression. The same cautious attitude exercised in selecting patients for surgery was also exercised in deciding extent of resection, opting for incomplete resection and radiosurgery more than with other AVMs to prioritize neurological outcomes.

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:

Transsylvian-Transinsular Approaches to the Insula and Basal Ganglia

 

 

 

 

Neurosurgery 70:824–834, 2012 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e318236760d 

Lesions in the insula and basal ganglia can be risky to resect because of their depth and proximity to critical structures, particularly in the dominant hemi- sphere. Transsylvian approaches shorten the surgical distance to these lesions, preserve perisylvian temporal and frontal cortex, and minimize brain transgression. OBJECTIVE: To report our experience with transsylvian-transinsular approaches to vascular lesions.

METHODS: The anterior approach opened the sphenoidal and insular portions of the sylvian fissure and exposed the limen insulae and short gyri, whereas the posterior approach opened the insular and opercular portions of the sylvian fissure and exposed the circular sulcus and long gyri.

RESULTS: Forty-one patients with vascular lesions (24 arteriovenous malformations [AVMs] and 17 cavernous malformations) were treated surgically with a transsylvian- transinsular approach. Complete resection was obtained in 87.5% of AVMs and 95% of cavernous malformations. Permanent neurological morbidity related to surgery was observed in 2 AVM patients (5%), with the remaining 39 patients (95%) improved or unchanged postoperatively (modified Rankin Scale scores 0-2 in 83%). There were no new language deficits in patients with dominant hemisphere lesions.

CONCLUSION: Transsylvian-transinsular approaches safely expose vascular pathology in or deep to the insula while preserving overlying eloquent cortex in the frontal and temporal lobes. The anterior transsylvian-transinsular approach can be differentiated from the posterior approach based on technical differences in splitting the sylvian fis- sure and anatomic differences in final exposure. Discriminating patient selection and careful microsurgical technique are essential.

Functional outcome after language mapping for insular WHO Grade II gliomas in the dominant hemisphere: experience with 24 patients

Neurosurg Focus 27 (2):E7, 2009
Despite the report of recent experiences of insular surgery in the past decade, there has been no series specifically dedicated to studying functional outcome following resection of insular WHO Grade II gliomas involving the dominant hemisphere, in patients with no or only mild preoperative language deficit. In this article, the authors analyze the contribution of awake mapping for preservation of brain function, especially language, in a homogeneous series of 24 patients who underwent surgery for insular Grade II gliomas within the dominant insular lobe.

Methods
Twenty-four patients underwent surgery for an insular Grade II glioma involving the dominant hemisphere (22 left, 2 right), revealed by seizures in all but 1 case. The preoperative neurological examination result was normal in 17 patients (71%), whereas 7 patients presented with language disorders detected using an accurate language assessment performed by a speech therapist. All surgeries were performed on awake patients utilizing intra-operative language mapping involving cortical and subcortical stimulation.

Results
There were no intrasurgical complications or postsurgical sensorimotor deficits. Despite an immediate postoperative language worsening in 12 cases (50%), all patients recovered to a normal status within 3 months, and 6 cases even improved in comparison with their preoperative examination results. The 24 patients returned to normal social and professional lives. Moreover, the surgery had a favorable impact on epilepsy in all but 4 cases (83%). On control MR imaging, 62.5% of resections were total or subtotal. Three patients underwent a second or third awake surgery, with no additional deficit. All but 2 patients (92%) are alive after a mean follow-up of 3 years (range 3–133 months).

Conclusions
Although insular surgery was long believed to be too risky, the present results show that the rate of permanent deficit, especially dysphasia, following resection of Grade II gliomas involving the dominant insula has been dramatically reduced (none in this patient series), thanks to the systematic use of intraoperative awake mapping, even in cases of repeated operations. Furthermore, patient quality of life may be improved due to a decrease of epilepsy after surgery. Thus, the authors suggest systematically considering resection when an insular Grade II glioma is diagnosed after seizures in a patient with no or mild deficit, even a glioma invading the dominant hemisphere.