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Johannes Herta, Fabian Winter, Ekaterina Pataraia, Martha Feucht, Thomas Czech, Barbara Porsche, Ulrike Leiss, Irene Slavc, Andreas Peyrl, Gregor Kasprian, Karl Rössler, and Christian Dorfer

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to evaluate the feasibility, benefit, and safety of awake brain surgery (ABS) and intraoperative language mapping in children and adolescents with structural epilepsies. Whereas ABS is an established method to monitor language function in adults intraoperatively, reports of ABS in children are scarce.

METHODS

A retrospective chart review of pediatric patients ≤ 18 years of age who underwent ABS and cortical language mapping for supratentorial tumors and nontumoral epileptogenic lesions between 2008 and 2019 was conducted. The authors evaluated the global intellectual and specific language performance by using detailed neuropsychological testing, the patient’s intraoperative compliance, results of intraoperative language mapping assisted by electrocorticography (ECoG), and postsurgical language development and seizure outcomes. Descriptive statistics were used for this study, with a statistical significance of p < 0.05.

RESULTS

Eleven children (7 boys) with a median age of 13 years (range 10–18 years) underwent ABS for a lesion in close vicinity to cortical language areas as defined by structural and functional MRI (left hemisphere in 9 children, right hemisphere in 2). Patients were neurologically intact but experiencing seizures; these were refractory to therapy in 9 patients. Compliance during the awake phase was high in 10 patients and low in 1 patient. Cortical mapping identified eloquent language areas in 6/10 (60%) patients and was concordant in 3/8 (37.5%), discordant in 3/8 (37.5%), and unclear in 2/8 (25%) patients compared to preoperative functional MRI. Stimulation-induced seizures occurred in 2 patients and could be interrupted easily. ECoG revealed that afterdischarge potentials (ADP) were involved in 5/9 (56%) patients with speech disturbances during stimulation. None of these patients harbored postoperative language dysfunction. Gross-total resection was achieved in 10/11 (91%) patients, and all were seizure free after a median follow-up of 4.3 years. Neuropsychological testing using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children and the verbal learning and memory test showed an overall nonsignificant trend toward an immediate postoperative deterioration followed by an improvement to above preoperative levels after 1 year.

CONCLUSIONS

ABS is a valuable technique in selected pediatric patients with lesions in language areas. An interdisciplinary approach, careful patient selection, extensive preoperative training of patients, and interpretation of intraoperative ADP are pivotal to a successful surgery.

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Christian Dorfer, Georgi Minchev, Thomas Czech, Harald Stefanits, Martha Feucht, Ekaterina Pataraia, Christoph Baumgartner, Gernot Kronreif, and Stefan Wolfsberger

OBJECTIVE

The authors' group recently published a novel technique for a navigation-guided frameless stereotactic approach for the placement of depth electrodes in epilepsy patients. To improve the accuracy of the trajectory and enhance the procedural workflow, the authors implemented the iSys1 miniature robotic device in the present study into this routine.

METHODS

As a first step, a preclinical phantom study was performed using a human skull model, and the accuracy and timing between 5 electrodes implanted with the manual technique and 5 with the aid of the robot were compared. After this phantom study showed an increased accuracy with robot-assisted electrode placement and confirmed the robot's ability to maintain stability despite the rotational forces and the leverage effect from drilling and screwing, patients were enrolled and analyzed for robot-assisted depth electrode placement at the authors' institution from January 2014 to December 2015. All procedures were performed with the S7 Surgical Navigation System with Synergy Cranial software and the iSys1 miniature robotic device.

RESULTS

Ninety-three electrodes were implanted in 16 patients (median age 33 years, range 3–55 years; 9 females, 7 males). The authors saw a significant increase in accuracy compared with their manual technique, with a median deviation from the planned entry and target points of 1.3 mm (range 0.1–3.4 mm) and 1.5 mm (range 0.3–6.7 mm), respectively. For the last 5 patients (31 electrodes) of this series the authors modified their technique in placing a guide for implantation of depth electrodes (GIDE) on the bone and saw a significant further increase in the accuracy at the entry point to 1.18 ± 0.5 mm (mean ± SD) compared with 1.54 ± 0.8 mm for the first 11 patients (p = 0.021). The median length of the trajectories was 45.4 mm (range 19–102.6 mm). The mean duration of depth electrode placement from the start of trajectory alignment to fixation of the electrode was 15.7 minutes (range 8.5–26.6 minutes), which was significantly faster than with the manual technique. In 12 patients, depth electrode placement was combined with subdural electrode placement. The procedure was well tolerated in all patients. The authors did not encounter any case of hemorrhage or neurological deficit related to the electrode placement. In 1 patient with a psoriasis vulgaris, a superficial wound infection was encountered. Adequate physiological recordings were obtained from all electrodes. No additional electrodes had to be implanted because of misplacement.

CONCLUSIONS

The iSys1 robotic device is a versatile and easy to use tool for frameless implantation of depth electrodes for the treatment of epilepsy. It increased the accuracy of the authors' manual technique by 60% at the entry point and over 30% at the target. It further enhanced and expedited the authors' procedural workflow.

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Tatjana Traub-Weidinger, Philip Weidinger, Gundrun Gröppel, Georgios Karanikas, Wolfgang Wadsak, Gregor Kasprian, Christian Dorfer, Anastasia Dressler, Angelika Muehlebner, Marcus Hacker, Thomas Czech, and Martha Feucht

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to investigate whether fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose PET (18F-FDG PET) can help to predict seizure outcome after hemispherotomy and therefore may be useful in decision making and patient selection.

METHODS

Children and adolescents less than 18 years of age who underwent 18F-FDG PET studies during presurgical evaluation prior to hemispherotomy and had follow-up data of at least 12 months after surgery were included. Seizure outcome was classified according to the recommendations of the International League Against Epilepsy. PET data were reevaluated by two specialists in nuclear medicine blinded to clinical data and to MRI. MRI studies were also reinterpreted visually by an experienced neuroradiologist blinded to clinical data and PET findings.

RESULTS

Thirty-five patients (17 girls) with a median age of 5 years (range 0.4–17.8 years) were evaluable. Of the 35 patients, 91.4% were seizure free after surgery, including 100% of those with unilateral 18F-FDG-PET hypometabolism compared with only 75% of those with bilateral hypometabolism. With respect to MRI, seizure freedom after surgery was observed in 96.4% of the patients with unilateral lesions compared with only 71.4% in those with bilateral MRI lesions. The best seizure outcomes were noted in patients with unilateral findings in both PET and MRI (100% seizure freedom) whereas only 50% of those with bilateral findings in both imaging techniques were seizure free. Furthermore, 100% of the patients with unilateral PET hypometabolism and bilateral MRI findings were also seizure free, but only 87.5% of those with bilateral PET hypometabolism and unilateral MRI findings.

CONCLUSIONS

According to these results, candidate selection for hemispherotomy can be optimized by the use of 18F-FDG PET as part of a multimodal presurgical evaluation program, especially in patients with inconsistent (bilateral) MRI findings.

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Christian Dorfer, Thomas Czech, Angelika Mühlebner-Fahrngruber, Aygül Mert, Gudrun Gröppel, Klaus Novak, Anastasia Dressler, Edith Reiter-Fink, Tatjana Traub-Weidinger, and Martha Feucht

Object

Outcomes following functional hemispherotomy in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy have been well described. However, studies reporting long-term longitudinal outcomes after subhemispheric disconnective epilepsy surgery are still limited.

Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective review of prospectively collected data of 10 children who underwent temporoparietooccipital (TPO) disconnective surgery at the Vienna Pediatric Epilepsy Center.

Results

There were 3 males and 7 females (median age 8.7 years; range 4.2–22.1 years). The affected hemisphere was the left in 3 patients and the right in 7. The patients' median age at seizure onset was 3.0 years (range 0.2–8.3 years). The median duration of epilepsy before surgery was 5.2 years (range 1.3–17.2 years). The underlying pathology was TPO malformation of cortical development in 5 patients, and venous infarction, posterior hemispheric quadrant atrophy, Sturge-Weber syndrome, cortical involvement of a systemic lupus erythematosus, and gliosis after cerebral tumor treatment in 1 each. In 6 children, a pure TPO disconnection was performed; in 2 patients, the temporal lobe was resected and parietooccipital disconnection was performed. The 2 remaining patients had had previous epilepsy surgery that was extended to a TPO disconnection: disconnection of the occipital lobe (n = 1) and resection of the temporal lobe (n = 1). The authors encountered no complications while performing surgery. No patient needed blood replacement therapy. No patient developed CSF disturbances that warranted treatment. Nine of 10 patients are currently seizure free since surgery (Wieser Class 1a) at a median follow-up time of 2.1 years (range 4 months to 8.1 years).

Conclusions

Temporoparietooccipital disconnection is a safe and effective motor-sparing epilepsy surgery in selected cases. Technical adjuncts facilitate a better intraoperative visualization and orientation, thereby enabling a less invasive approach than previously suggested.