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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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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.