Application of the Robotic-Assisted Digital Exoscope for Resection of Posterior Fossa Tumors in Adults: A Series of 45 Cases

Operative Neurosurgery 25:397–407, 2023

Complete safe resection is the goal when pursuing surgical treatment for posterior fossa (PF) tumors. Efforts have led to the development of the exoscope that delineates tumors from non-neoplastic brain. This investigation aims to assess patient outcomes where PF tumor resection is performed with the exoscope by a retromastoid or suboccipital approach.

METHODS: A retrospective analysis was conducted for patients with PF tumors who underwent exoscope resection from 2017 to 2022. Patient demographics, clinical, operative, and outcome findings were collected. Extent of resection studies were also performed. Associations between perioperative data, discharge disposition, progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) were evaluated.

RESULTS: A total of 45 patients (22 male patients) with a median age of 57 years were assessed. Eighteen (40%) and 27 patients (60%) were diagnosed with malignant and benign tumors, respectively. Tumor neurovascular involvement was found in 28 patients (62%). Twenty-four (53%) and 20 (44%) tumors formed in the cerebellum and cerebellopontine angle cistern, respectively. One tumor (2%) was found in the cervicomedullary junction. The mean extent of resection was 96.7% for benign and malignant tumors. The PFS and OS rate at 6 months (PFS6, OS6) was 89.7% and 95.5%, respectively. Neurological complications included sensory loss and motor deficit, with 11 patients reporting no postoperative symptoms. Of the neurological complications, 14 were temporary and 9 were permanent.

CONCLUSION: The exoscope is an effective intraoperative visualization tool for delineating PF tumors. In our series, we achieved low postoperative tumor volumes and a high gross total resection rate.

Neuronavigated endoscopic aqueductoplasty with panventricular stent plus septostomy for isolated fourth ventricle in complex hydrocephalus and syringomyelia associated with myelomeningocele

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:2333–2338

Isolated fourth ventricle (IFV) is a challenging entity to manage. In recent years, endoscopic treatment for aqueductoplasty has been on the rise. However, in patients with complex hydrocephalus and distorted ventricular system, its implementation can be complex.

Methods We present a 3-year-old patient with myelomeningocele and postnatal hydrocephalus treated by ventriculoperitoneal shunt. In follow-up, a progressive IFV and isolated lateral ventricle with symptoms of the posterior fossa developed. An endoscopic aqueductoplasty (EA) with panventricular stent plus septostomy guided with neuronavigation was decided due to the complexity of the ventricular system.

Conclusion In IFV associated with complex hydrocephalus with distortion of the ventricular system, navigation can be of great help for planning and as a guide for performing EA

Frameless neuronavigation‑assisted brain biopsy with electromagnetic tracking

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:3317–3322

In recent years, thanks to several technological innovations, stereotactic cerebral biopsies have evolved from frame-based to frameless neuronavigation-assisted techniques.

Methods The authors provide herein a detailed step-by-step description of the technique, shedding light on surgical tips and how to avoid complications. The practical application of the technique is demonstrated with a high-quality video.

Conclusion The neuronavigation-assisted brain biopsy with electromagnetic tracking is a “true frameless” procedure. It represents a simple, safe, and effective innovation for frameless biopsy of cerebral lesions. This technique is time efficient, offering a high degree of accuracy required for the establishment of a definitive diagnosis, enabling optimal further treatment, and thus improving patient outcome.

Real‐time augmented reality application in presurgical planning and lesion scalp localization by a smartphone

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:1069–1078

Objective A smartphone augmented reality (AR) application (app) was explored for clinical use in presurgical planning and lesion scalp localization.

Methods We programmed an AR App on a smartphone. The accuracy of the AR app was tested on a 3D-printed head model, using the Euclidean distance of displacement of virtual objects. For clinical validation, 14 patients with brain tumors were included in the study. Preoperative MRI images were used to generate 3D models for AR contents. The 3D models were then transferred to the smartphone AR app. Tumor scalp localization was marked, and a surgical corridor was planned on the patient’s head by viewing AR images on the smartphone screen. Standard neuronavigation was applied to evaluate the accuracy of the smartphone. Max-margin distance (MMD) and area overlap ratio (AOR) were measured to quantitatively validate the clinical accuracy of the smartphone AR technique.

Results In model validation, the total mean Euclidean distance of virtual object displacement using the smartphone AR app was 4.7 ± 2.3 mm. In clinical validation, the mean duration of AR app usage was 168.5 ± 73.9 s. The total mean MMD was 6.7 ± 3.7 mm, and total mean AOR was 79%.

Conclusions The smartphone AR app provides a new way of experience to observe intracranial anatomy in situ, and it makes surgical planning more intuitive and efficient. Localization accuracy is satisfactory with lesions larger than 15 mm.

Reducing the risks of proximal and distal shunt failure in adult hydrocephalus

J Neurosurg 136:877–886, 2022

Patient outcomes of ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt surgery, the mainstay treatment for hydrocephalus in adults, are poor because of high shunt failure rates. The use of neuronavigation or laparoscopy can reduce the risks of proximal or distal shunt catheter failure, respectively, but has less independent effect on overall shunt failures. No adult studies to date have combined both approaches in the setting of a shunt infection prevention protocol to reduce shunt failure. The goal of this study was to determine whether combining neuronavigation and laparoscopy with a shunt infection prevention strategy would reduce the incidence of shunt failures in adult hydrocephalic patients.

METHODS Adult patients (age ≥ 18 years) undergoing VP shunt surgery at a tertiary care institution prior to (pre–Shunt Outcomes [ShOut]) and after (post-ShOut) the start of a prospective continuous quality improvement (QI) study were compared. Pre-ShOut patients had their proximal and distal catheters placed under conventional freehand approaches. Post-ShOut patients had their shunts inserted with neuronavigational and laparoscopy assistance in placing the distal catheter in the perihepatic space (falciform technique). A shunt infection reduction protocol had been instituted 1.5 years prior to the start of the QI initiative. The primary outcome of interest was the incidence of shunt failure (including infection) confirmed by standardized criteria indicating shunt revision surgery.

RESULTS There were 244 (115 pre-ShOut and 129 post-ShOut) patients observed over 7 years. With a background of shunt infection prophylaxis, combined neuronavigation and laparoscopy was associated with a reduction in overall shunt failure rates from 37% to 14%, 45% to 22%, and 51% to 29% at 1, 2, and 3 years, respectively (HR 0.44, p < 0.001). Shunt infection rates decreased from 8% in the pre-ShOut group to 0% in the post-ShOut group. There were no proximal catheter failures in the post-ShOut group. The 2-year rates of distal catheter failure were 42% versus 20% in the pre- and post-ShOut groups, respectively (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS Introducing a shunt infection prevention protocol, placing the proximal catheter under neuronavigation, and placing the peritoneal catheter in the perihepatic space by using the falciform technique led to decreased rates of infection, distal shunt failure, and overall shunt failure.

The effect of augmented reality on the accuracy and learning curve of external ventricular drain placement

Neurosurg Focus 51 (2):E8, 2021

The traditional freehand technique for external ventricular drain (EVD) placement is most frequently used, but remains the primary risk factor for inaccurate drain placement. As this procedure could benefit from image guidance, the authors set forth to demonstrate the impact of augmented-reality (AR) assistance on the accuracy and learning curve of EVD placement compared with the freehand technique.

METHODS Sixteen medical students performed a total of 128 EVD placements on a custom-made phantom head, both before and after receiving a standardized training session. They were guided by either the freehand technique or by AR, which provided an anatomical overlay and tailored guidance for EVD placement through inside-out infrared tracking. The outcome was quantified by the metric accuracy of EVD placement as well as by its clinical quality.

RESULTS The mean target error was significantly impacted by either AR (p = 0.003) or training (p = 0.02) in a direct comparison with the untrained freehand performance. Both untrained (11.9 ± 4.5 mm) and trained (12.2 ± 4.7 mm) AR performances were significantly better than the untrained freehand performance (19.9 ± 4.2 mm), which improved after training (13.5 ± 4.7 mm). The quality of EVD placement as assessed by the modified Kakarla scale (mKS) was significantly impacted by AR guidance (p = 0.005) but not by training (p = 0.07). Both untrained and trained AR performances (59.4% mKS grade 1 for both) were significantly better than the untrained freehand performance (25.0% mKS grade 1). Spatial aptitude testing revealed a correlation between perceptual ability and untrained AR-guided performance (r = 0.63).

CONCLUSIONS Compared with the freehand technique, AR guidance for EVD placement yielded a higher outcome accuracy and quality for procedure novices. With AR, untrained individuals performed as well as trained individuals, which indicates that AR guidance not only improved performance but also positively impacted the learning curve. Future efforts will focus on the translation and evaluation of AR for EVD placement in the clinical setting.

A cadaveric precision and accuracy analysis of augmented reality–mediated percutaneous pedicle implant insertion

J Neurosurg Spine 34:316–324, 2021

Augmented reality–mediated spine surgery (ARMSS) is a minimally invasive novel technology that has the potential to increase the efficiency, accuracy, and safety of conventional percutaneous pedicle screw insertion methods. Visual 3D spinal anatomical and 2D navigation images are directly projected onto the operator’s retina and superimposed over the surgical field, eliminating field of vision and attention shift to a remote display. The objective of this cadaveric study was to assess the accuracy and precision of percutaneous ARMSS pedicle implant insertion.

METHODS Instrumentation was placed in 5 cadaveric torsos via ARMSS with the xvision augmented reality headmounted display (AR-HMD) platform at levels ranging from T5 to S1 for a total of 113 total implants (93 pedicle screws and 20 Jamshidi needles). Postprocedural CT scans were graded by two independent neuroradiologists using the Gertzbein- Robbins scale (grades A–E) for clinical accuracy. Technical precision was calculated using superimposition analysis employing the Medical Image Interaction Toolkit to yield angular trajectory (°) and linear screw tip (mm) deviation from the virtual pedicle screw position compared with the actual pedicle screw position on postprocedural CT imaging.

RESULTS The overall implant insertion clinical accuracy achieved was 99.1%. Lumbosacral and thoracic clinical accuracies were 100% and 98.2%, respectively. Specifically, among all implants inserted, 112 were noted to be Gertzbein- Robbins grade A or B (99.12%), with only 1 medial Gertzbein-Robbins grade C breach (> 2-mm pedicle breach) in a thoracic pedicle at T9. Precision analysis of the inserted pedicle screws yielded a mean screw tip linear deviation of 1.98 mm (99% CI 1.74–2.22 mm) and a mean angular error of 1.29° (99% CI 1.11°–1.46°) from the projected trajectory. These data compare favorably with data from existing navigation platforms and regulatory precision requirements mandating that linear and angular deviation be less than 3 mm (p < 0.01) and 3° (p < 0.01), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS Percutaneous ARMSS pedicle implant insertion is a technically feasible, accurate, and highly precise method.


sEVD—smartphone-navigated placement of external ventricular drains

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:513–521

Currently, the trajectory for insertion of an external ventricular drain (EVD) is mainly determined using anatomical landmarks. However, non-assisted implantations frequently require multiple attempts and are associated with EVD malpositioning and complications. The authors evaluated the feasibility and accuracy of a novel smartphone-guided, angleadjusted technique for assisted implantations of an EVD (sEVD) in both a human artificial head model and a cadaveric head.

Methods After computed tomography (CT), optimal insertion angles and lengths of intracranial trajectories of the EVDs were determined. A smartphone was calibrated to the mid-cranial sagittal line. Twenty EVDs were placed using both the premeasured data and smartphone-adjusted insertion angles, targeting the center of the ipsilateral ventricular frontal horn. The EVD positions were verified with post-interventional CT.

Results All 20 sEVDs (head model, 8/20; cadaveric head, 12/20) showed accurate placement in the ipsilateral ventricle. The sEVD tip locations showed a mean target deviation of 1.73° corresponding to 12 mm in the plastic head model, and 3.45° corresponding to 33mm in the cadaveric head. The mean duration of preoperative measurements on CT data was 3 min, whereas sterile packing, smartphone calibration, drilling, and implantation required 9 min on average.

Conclusions By implementation of an innovative navigation technique, a conventional smartphone was used as a protractor for the insertion of EVDs. Our ex vivo data suggest that smartphone-guided EVD placement offers a precise, rapidly applicable, and patient-individualized freehand technique based on a standard procedure with a simple, cheap, and widely available multifunctional device.

Augmented reality–assisted pedicle screw insertion

J Neurosurg Spine 31:139–146, 2019

Augmented reality (AR) is a novel technology that has the potential to increase the technical feasibility, accuracy, and safety of conventional manual and robotic computer-navigated pedicle insertion methods. Visual data are directly projected to the operator’s retina and overlaid onto the surgical field, thereby removing the requirement to shift attention to a remote display. The objective of this study was to assess the comparative accuracy of AR-assisted pedicle screw insertion in comparison to conventional pedicle screw insertion methods.

METHODS Five cadaveric male torsos were instrumented bilaterally from T6 to L5 for a total of 120 inserted pedicle screws. Postprocedural CT scans were obtained, and screw insertion accuracy was graded by 2 independent neuroradiologists using both the Gertzbein scale (GS) and a combination of that scale and the Heary classification, referred to in this paper as the Heary-Gertzbein scale (HGS). Non-inferiority analysis was performed, comparing the accuracy to freehand, manual computer-navigated, and robotics-assisted computer-navigated insertion accuracy rates reported in the literature. User experience analysis was conducted via a user experience questionnaire filled out by operators after the procedures.

RESULTS The overall screw placement accuracy achieved with the AR system was 96.7% based on the HGS and 94.6% based on the GS. Insertion accuracy was non-inferior to accuracy reported for manual computer-navigated pedicle insertion based on both the GS and the HGS scores. When compared to accuracy reported for robotics-assisted computer-navigated insertion, accuracy achieved with the AR system was found to be non-inferior when assessed with the GS, but superior when assessed with the HGS. Last, accuracy results achieved with the AR system were found to be superior to results obtained with freehand insertion based on both the HGS and the GS scores. Accuracy results were not found to be inferior in any comparison. User experience analysis yielded “excellent” usability classification.

CONCLUSIONS AR-assisted pedicle screw insertion is a technically feasible and accurate insertion method.


Three-dimensional neuronavigation in SEEG-guided epilepsy surgery

Acta Neurochirurgica (2019) 161:917–923

Epilepsy surgery is mainly cortical surgery and the precise definition of the epileptogenic zone on the complex cortical surface is of paramount importance. Stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) may delineate the epileptogenic zone even in cases of non-lesional epilepsy. The aim of our study was to present a technique of 3D neuronavigation based on the brain surface and SEEG electrodes reconstructions using FSL and 3DSlicer software.
Patients and methods Our study included 26 consecutive patients operated on for drug-resistant epilepsy after SEEG exploration between January 2015 and December 2017. All patients underwent 1.5 T pre-SEEG MRI, post-SEEG CT, DICOM data post- processing using FSL and 3DSlicer, preoperative planning on 3DSlicer, and intraoperative 3D neuronavigation. Accuracy and precision of 3D SEEG reconstruction and 3D neuronavigation was assessed.
Results We identified 125 entry points of SEEG electrodes during 26 operations. The accuracy of 3D reconstruction was 0.8 mm (range, 0–2 mm) with a precision of 1.5 mm. The accuracy of 3D SEEG neuronavigation was 2.68 mm (range, 0–6 mm). The precision of 3D neuronavigation was 1.48 mm.
Conclusion 3D neuronavigation for SEEG-guided epilepsy surgery using free software for post-processing of common MRI sequences is possible and a reliable method even with navigation systems without a brain extraction tool.

The Surgical White Matter Chassis: A Practical 3-Dimensional Atlas for Planning Subcortical Surgical Trajectories

Operative Neurosurgery 14:469–482, 2018

The imperative role of white matter preservation in improving surgical functional outcomes is now recognized. Understanding the fundamental white matter framework is essential for translating the anatomic and functional literature into practical strategies for surgical planning and neuronavigation.

OBJECTIVE: To present a 3-dimensional (3-D) atlas of the structural and functional scaffolding of human white matter—ie, a “Surgical White Matter Chassis (SWMC)”—that can be used as an organizational tool in designing precise and individualized trajectorybased neurosurgical corridors.

METHODS: Preoperative diffusion tensor imaging magnetic resonance images were obtained prior to each of our last 100 awake subcortical resections, using a clinically available 3.0 Tesla system. Tractography was generated using a semiautomated deterministic global seeding algorithm. Tract data were conceptualized as a 3-D modular chassis based on the 3 major fiber types, organized along median and paramedian planes, with special attention to limbic and neocortical association tracts and their interconnections.

RESULTS: We discuss practical implementation of the SWMC concept, and highlight its use in planning select illustrative cases. Emphasis has been given to developing practical understanding of the arcuate fasciculus, uncinate fasciculus, and vertical rami of the superior longitudinal fasciculus, which are often-neglected fibers in surgical planning.

CONCLUSION: A working knowledge of white matter anatomy, as embodied in the SWMC, is of paramount importance to the planning of parafascicular surgical trajectories, and can serve as a basis for developing reliable safe corridors, or modules, toward the goal of “zerofootprint” transsulcal access to the subcortical space.



A New Volumetric Radiologic Method to Assess Indirect Decompression After Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion Using High-Resolution Intraoperative Computed Tomography

World Neurosurg. (2018)109:59-67

Two-dimensional radiographic methods have been proposed to evaluate the radiographic outcome after indirect decompression through extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF). However, the assessment of neural decompression in a single plane may underestimate the effect of indirect decompression on central canal and foraminal volumes. The present study aimed to assess the reliability and consistency of a novel 3-dimensional radiographic method that assesses neural decompression by volumetric analysis using a new generation of intraoperative fan-beam computed tomography scanner in patients undergoing XLIF.

METHODS: Prospectively collected data from 7 patients (9 levels) undergoing XLIF was retrospectively analyzed. Three independent, blind raters using imaging analysis software performed volumetric measurements pre- and postoperatively to determine central canal and foraminal volumes. Intrarater and Interrater reliability tests were performed to assess the reliability of this novel volumetric method.

RESULTS: The interrater reliability between the three raters ranged from 0.800 to 0.952, P < 0.0001. The test-retest analysis on a randomly selected subset of three patients showed good to excellent internal reliability (range of 0.78e1.00) for all 3 raters. There was a significant increase in mean ±20% for right foramen, left foramen, and central canal volumes postoperatively (P = 0.0472; P = 0.0066; P = 0.0003, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: Here we demonstrate a new volumetric analysis technique that is feasible, reliable, and reproducible amongst independent raters for central canal and foraminal volumes in the lumbar spine using an intraoperative computed tomography scanner


Anterior trans-frontal endoscopic resection of third-ventricle colloid cyst

Acta Neurochir (2017) 159:1049–1052

The endoscopic technique has been recognised as a viable and safe alternative to microsurgery for the treatment of third-ventricle colloid cyst. However, the standard precoronal endoscopic approach does not always provide an adequate visualisation of the attachment of the cyst to the velum interpositum. Using a more anterior approach, it is easier to reach the roof of the cyst and its possible adherences with the tela choroidea.

Method The authors describe step by step the anterior transfrontal endoscopic approach for management of third ventricle colloid cyst.

Conclusions The described approach has shown to be safe, quick and effective for the treatment of third-ventricle colloid cyst.

Probabilistic versus deterministic tractography for delineation of the cortico-subthalamic hyperdirect pathway in patients with Parkinson disease selected for deep brain stimulation

J Neurosurg 126:1657–1668, 2017

Diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI) and tractography allows noninvasive mapping of the structural connections of the brain, and may provide important information for neurosurgical planning. The hyperdirect pathway, connecting the subthalamic nucleus (STN) with the motor cortex, is assumed to play a key role in mediating the effects of deep brain stimulation (DBS), which is an effective but poorly understood treatment for Parkinson disease. This study aimed to apply recent methodological advances in DWI acquisition and analysis to the delineation of the hyperdirect pathway in patients with Parkinson disease selected for surgery.

METHODS High spatial and angular resolution DWI data were acquired preoperatively from 5 patients with Parkinson disease undergoing DBS. The authors compared the delineated hyperdirect pathways and associated STN target maps generated by 2 different tractography methods: a tensor-based deterministic method, typically available in clinical settings, and an advanced probabilistic method based on constrained spherical deconvolution. In addition, 10 highresolution data sets with the same scanning parameters were acquired from a healthy control participant to assess the robustness of the tractography results.

RESULTS Both tractography approaches identified connections between the ipsilateral motor cortex and the STN. However, the 2 methods provided substantially different target regions in the STN, with the target center of gravity differing by > 1.4 mm on average. The probabilistic method (based on constrained spherical deconvolution) plausibly reconstructed a continuous set of connections from the motor cortex, terminating in the dorsolateral region of the STN. In contrast, the tensor-based method reconstructed a comparatively sparser and more variable subset of connections. Furthermore, across the control scans, the probabilistic method identified considerably more consistent targeting regions within the STN compared with the deterministic tensor-based method, which demonstrated a 1.9–2.4 times higher variation.

CONCLUSIONS These data provide a strong impetus for the use of a robust probabilistic tractography framework based on constrained spherical deconvolution, or similar advanced DWI models, in clinical settings. The inherent limitations and demonstrated inaccuracy of the tensor-based method leave it questionable for use in high-precision stereotactic DBS surgery. The authors have also described a straightforward method for importing tractography-derived information into any clinical neuronavigation system, based on the generation of track-density images.

Comparison between electric-field-navigated and line-navigated TMS for cortical motor mapping in patients with brain tumors

Acta Neurochir (2016) 158:2277–2289

For the navigation of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), various techniques are available. Yet, there are two basic principles underlying them all: electric-fieldnavigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (En-TMS) and line-navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (Ln-TMS). The current study was designed to compare both methods.

Methods To explore whether there is a difference in clinical applicability, workflow, and mapping results of both techniques, we systematically compared motor mapping via EnTMS and Ln-TMS in 12 patients suffering from brain tumors.

Results The number of motor-positive stimulation spots and the ratio of positive spots per overall stimulation numbers were significantly higher for En-TMS (motor-positive spots: EnTMS vs. Ln-TMS: 128.3 ± 35.0 vs. 41.3 ± 26.8, p < 0.0001; ratio of motor-positive spots per number of stimulations: EnTMS vs. Ln-TMS: 38.0 ± 9.2 % vs. 20.0 ± 14.4 %, p = 0.0031). Distances between the En-TMS and Ln-TMS motor hotspots were 8.3 ± 4.4 mm on the ipsilesional and 8.6 ± 4.5 mm on the contralesional hemisphere (p = 0.9124).

Conclusions The present study compares En-TMS and LnTMS motor mapping in the neurosurgical context for the first time. Although both TMS systems tested in the present study are explicitly designed for application during motor mapping in patients with brain lesions, there are differences in applicability, workflow, and results between En-TMS and Ln-TMS, which should be distinctly considered during clinical use of the technique. However, to draw final conclusions about accuracy, confirmation of motor-positive Ln-TMS spots by intraoperative stimulation is crucial within the scope of upcoming investigations.

App-assisted external ventricular drain insertion


J Neurosurg 125:754–758, 2016

The freehand technique for insertion of an external ventricular drain (EVD) is based on fixed anatomical landmarks and does not take individual variations into consideration. A patient-tailored approach based on augmented-reality techniques using devices such as smartphones can address this shortcoming. The Sina neurosurgical assist (Sina) is an Android mobile device application (app) that was designed and developed to be used as a simple intraoperative neurosurgical planning aid. It overlaps the patient’s images from previously performed CT or MRI studies on the image seen through the device camera.

The device is held by an assistant who aligns the images and provides information about the relative position of the target and EVD to the surgeon who is performing EVD insertion. This app can be used to provide guidance and continuous monitoring during EVD placement.

The author describes the technique of Sina-assisted EVD insertion into the frontal horn of the lateral ventricle and reports on its clinical application in 5 cases as well as the results of ex vivo studies of ease of use and precision. The technique has potential for further development and use with other augmented-reality devices.

Three-dimensional MRS–guided glioma resection

Metabolic approach

J Neurosurg 124:1585–1593, 2016

The extent of resection is one of the most essential factors that influence the outcomes of glioma resection. However, conventional structural imaging has failed to accurately delineate glioma margins because of tumor cell infiltration. Three-dimensional proton MR spectroscopy (1H-MRS) can provide metabolic information and has been used in preoperative tumor differentiation, grading, and radiotherapy planning. Resection based on glioma metabolism information may provide for a more extensive resection and yield better outcomes for glioma patients. In this study, the authors attempt to integrate 3D 1H-MRS into neuronavigation and assess the feasibility and validity of metabolically based glioma resection.

Methods: Choline (Cho)–N-acetylaspartate (NAA) index (CNI) maps were calculated and integrated into neuronavigation. The CNI thresholds were quantitatively analyzed and compared with structural MRI studies. Glioma resections were performed under 3D 1H-MRS guidance. Volumetric analyses were performed for metabolic and structural images from a low-grade glioma (LGG) group and high-grade glioma (HGG) group. Magnetic resonance imaging and neurological assessments were performed immediately after surgery and 1 year after tumor resection.

Results: Fifteen eligible patients with primary cerebral gliomas were included in this study. Three-dimensional 1HMRS maps were successfully coregistered with structural images and integrated into navigational system. Volumetric analyses showed that the differences between the metabolic volumes with different CNI thresholds were statistically significant (p < 0.05). For the LGG group, the differences between the structural and the metabolic volumes with CNI thresholds of 0.5 and 1.5 were statistically significant (p = 0.0005 and 0.0129, respectively). For the HGG group, the differences between the structural and metabolic volumes with CNI thresholds of 0.5 and 1.0 were statistically significant (p = 0.0027 and 0.0497, respectively). All patients showed no tumor progression at the 1-year follow-up.

Conclusions: This study integrated 3D MRS maps and intraoperative navigation for glioma margin delineation. Optimum CNI thresholds were applied for both LGGs and HGGs to achieve resection. The results indicated that 3D 1H-MRS can be integrated with structural imaging to provide better outcomes for glioma resection.

Feasibility study for brain biopsies performed with the use of a head-mounted robot

Feasibility study for brain biopsies performed with the use of a head-mounted robotJ Neurosurg 123:737–742, 2015

Frame-based stereotactic interventions are considered the gold standard for brain biopsies, but they have limitations with regard to flexibility and patient comfort because of the bulky head ring attached to the patient. Frameless image guidance systems that use scalp fiducial markers offer more flexibility and patient comfort but provide less stability and accuracy during drilling and biopsy needle positioning. Head-mounted robot–guided biopsies could provide the advantages of these 2 techniques without the downsides. The goal of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and safety of a robotic guidance device, affixed to the patient’s skull through a small mounting platform, for use in brain biopsy procedures.

Methods This was a retrospective study of 37 consecutive patients who presented with supratentorial lesions and underwent brain biopsy procedures in which a surgical guidance robot was used to determine clinical outcomes and technical procedural operability.

Results The portable head-mounted device was well tolerated by the patients and enabled stable drilling and needle positioning during surgery. Flexible adjustments of predefined paths and selection of new trajectories were successfully performed intraoperatively without the need for manual settings and fixations. The patients experienced no permanent deficits or infections after surgery.

Conclusions The head-mounted robot–guided approach presented here combines the stability of a bone-mounted set-up with the flexibility and tolerability of frameless systems. By reducing human interference (i.e., manual parameter settings, calibrations, and adjustments), this technology might be particularly useful in neurosurgical interventions that necessitate multiple trajectories.

Augmented reality–guided neurosurgery: accuracy and intraoperative application of an image projection technique

Augmented reality–guided neurosurgery- accuracy and intraoperative application of an image projection technique

J Neurosurg 123:206–211, 2015

An augmented reality system has been developed for image-guided neurosurgery to project images with regions of interest onto the patient’s head, skull, or brain surface in real time. The aim of this study was to evaluate system accuracy and to perform the first intraoperative application.

Methods Images of segmented brain tumors in different localizations and sizes were created in 10 cases and were projected to a head phantom using a video projector. Registration was performed using 5 fiducial markers. After each registration, the distance of the 5 fiducial markers from the visualized tumor borders was measured on the virtual image and on the phantom. The difference was considered a projection error. Moreover, the image projection technique was intraoperatively applied in 5 patients and was compared with a standard navigation system.

Results Augmented reality visualization of the tumors succeeded in all cases. The mean time for registration was 3.8 minutes (range 2–7 minutes). The mean projection error was 0.8 ± 0.25 mm. There were no significant differences in accuracy according to the localization and size of the tumor. Clinical feasibility and reliability of the augmented reality system could be proved intraoperatively in 5 patients (projection error 1.2 ± 0.54 mm).

Conclusions The augmented reality system is accurate and reliable for the intraoperative projection of images to the head, skull, and brain surface. The ergonomic advantage of this technique improves the planning of neurosurgical procedures and enables the surgeon to use direct visualization for image-guided neurosurgery.

Brain surface reformatted imaging (BSRI) for intraoperative neuronavigation in brain tumor surgery

Brain surface reformatted imaging (BSRI) for intraoperative neuronavigation in brain tumor surgery

Acta Neurochir (2015) 157:265–274

For safe resection of lesions situated in or near eloquent brain regions, determination of their spatial and functional relationship is crucial. Since functional magnetic resonance imaging and intraoperative neurophysiological mapping are not available in all neurosurgical departments, we aimed to evaluate brain surface reformatted imaging (BSRI) as an additional display mode for neuronavigation.

Methods Eight patients suffering from perirolandic tumors were preoperatively studied withMRI and navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (nTMS). Afterwards, the MRI was automatically transformed into BSR images in neuronavigation software (Brainlab, Brainlab AG, Feldkirchen, Germany). One experienced neuroradiologist, one experienced neurosurgeon, and two residents determined hand representation areas ipsilateral to each tumor on two-dimensional (2D) MR images and on BSR images. All results were compared to results from intraoperative direct cortical mapping of the hand motor cortex and to preoperative nTMS results.

Results Findings from nTMS and intraoperative direct cortical mapping of the hand motor cortex were congruent in all cases. Hand representation areas were correctly determined on BSR images in 81.3%and on 2D-MR images in 93.75%(p= 0.26). In a subgroup analysis, experienced observers showed more familiarity with BSRI than residents (96.9 vs. 84.4 % correct results, p=0.19), with an equal error rate for 2D-MRI. The time required to define hand representation areas was significantly shorter using BSRI than using standard MRI (mean 27.4 vs. 40.4 s, p=0.04).

Conclusions With BSRI, a new method for neuronavigation is now available, allowing fast and easy intraoperative localization of distinct brain regions.