Intraoperative Cognition Mapping and Monitoring “à la carte” in Brain Tumor Patients

Neurosurgery 88:919–930, 2021

The purpose of surgery for brain tumors involving eloquent neural circuits is to maximize the extent of resection while preserving an optimal quality of life. To this end, especially in diffuse glioma, the goal is to remove the cerebral parenchyma invaded by the neoplasm up to the individual cortico-subcortical networks critical for brain functions.

Intraoperative mapping combined with real-time cognitive monitoring throughout the resection in awake patient is thus highly recommended to resume a normal life. Indeed, beyond avoiding hemiplegia or aphasia, enjoying a familial, social, and professional life implies that motor and language mapping is not sufficient.

Identifying and sparing neural networks that subserve cognition (movement control, visuospatial cognition, executive functions, multimodal semantics, metacognition) andmentalizing (theory ofmind, which plays a key role for social cognition) is essential to preserve an adapted behavior.

Here, the aim is to review when and how to map these critical functions, which have nonetheless been neglected for many decades by neurosurgeons. In fact, the disorders generated by surgical injuries of circuits underpinning nonmotor and nonspeech functions are usually not immediately visible on postoperative standard clinical examination, leading the physician to believe that the patient has no deficit. Yet, cognitive or emotional disturbances may subsequently prevent to resume an active life, as to work full time.

Therefore, a systematic neuropsychological assessment should be performed before, during, and after mapping-guided surgery, regardless of the tumor location, to preserve the functional connectome intraoperatively and to plan a postoperative tailored cognitive rehabilitation according to the patient’s needs.

Iterative Surgical Resections of Diffuse Glioma With Awake Mapping: How to Deal With Cortical Plasticity and Connectomal Constraints?

Neurosurgery 85(1):105–116. 2019

In diffuse glioma, a multistage approach with iterative tailored surgical resections can be considered.
OBJECTIVE: To compare results of iterative intrasurgical brain mappings to investigate the potential and limitation of neuroplasticity at the individual stage, and to highlight to what extent it can influence the therapeutic strategy.
METHODS: Glioma patients who underwent 2 consecutive awake surgeries with cortical and subcortical stimulation were classified into group 1 (n = 23) if cortical mappings exhibited high level of plasticity (displacement of ≥2 sites) or into group 2 (n = 19) with low level of plasticity.
RESULTS: Clinical characteristics did not differ significantly between both groups. The borders of the tumors were mostly sharp in group 1 (82.6%) and rather indistinct in group 2 (84.2%), (P = .00001). Tumor remnants were more often cortical (± subcortical) in group 1 (39.1%) and more often purely subcortical in group 2 (68.4%; P = .009). In group 1, the time needed to recover independence was significantly shorter at reoperation (37.6 h vs 78.3 h after the first surgery, P = .00003) while this difference was not significant in group 2. The iterative extents of resection (EOR) remain comparable in group 1 (94% vs 92%, P = .40) but were significantly smaller in group 2 at reoperation (94% vs 88%, P = .05).
CONCLUSION: More efficient plasticity mechanisms are facilitated by cortical tumors with sharp borders, are associated with an increase of EOR at reoperation and with earlier functional recovery. Tumoral invasion of the white matter tracts represents the main limitation of neuroplasticity: this connectomal constraint limits EOR during second surgery.