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Ramin A. Morshed, Seunggu J. Han, Darryl Lau, and Mitchel S. Berger

Surgery guided by 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) fluorescence has become a valuable adjunct in the resection of malignant intracranial gliomas. Furthermore, the fluorescence intensity of biopsied areas of a resection cavity correlates with histological identification of tumor cells. However, in the case of lesions deep within a resection cavity, light penetration may be suboptimal, resulting in less excitation of 5-ALA metabolites, leading to decreased fluorescence emission. To address this obstacle, the authors report on the use of a 400-nm wavelength fiber-optic lighted suction instrument that can be used both during resection of a tumor and to provide direct light to deeper areas of a resection cavity. In the presented case, this wavelength-specific lighted suction instrument improved the fluorescence intensity of patches of malignant tissue within the resection cavity. This technique may further improve the utility of 5-ALA in identifying tumor-infiltrated tissue for deep-seated lesions. Additionally, this tool may have implications for scoring systems that correlate 5-ALA fluorescence intensity with histological identification of malignant cells.

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James R. Bean

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Nader Sanai, Susan Chang, and Mitchel S. Berger

In recent years, advances in the understanding of low-grade glioma (LGG) biology have driven new paradigms in molecular markers, diagnostic imaging, operative techniques and technologies, and adjuvant therapies. Taken together, these developments are collectively pushing the envelope toward improved quality of life and survival. In this article, the authors evaluate the recent literature to synthesize a comprehensive review of LGGs in the modern neurosurgical era.

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Peter T. Lin, Mitchel S. Berger, and Srikantan S. Nagarajan


In this study the role of magnetic source imaging for preoperative motor mapping was evaluated by using a single-dipole localization method to analyze motor field data in 41 patients.


Data from affected and unaffected hemispheres were collected in patients performing voluntary finger flexion movements. Somatosensory evoked field (SSEF) data were also obtained using tactile stimulation. Dipole localization using motor field (MF) data was successful in only 49% of patients, whereas localization with movement-evoked field (MEF) data was successful in 66% of patients. When the spatial distribution of MF and MEF dipoles in relation to SSEF dipoles was analyzed, the motor dipoles were not spatially distinct from somatosensory dipoles.


The findings in this study suggest that single-dipole localization for the analysis of motor data is not sufficiently sensitive and is nonspecific, and thus not clinically useful.

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Paul M. Kanev, John F. Lefebvre, Richard S. Mauseth, and Mitchel S. Berger

✓ The medical records of 123 patients treated for brain tumors at Children's Hospital and Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, between 1985 and 1987 were reviewed. The endocrinological complications of radiation therapy and the effectiveness of growth hormone (GH) replacement therapy were assessed. These were the first 2 years after synthetic GH became available. The disease pathology was confirmed at craniotomy or biopsy in 108 patients. Ninety-five children completed radiation therapy and 65 of these were alive at the time of review; these 65 children represent the study population. The most common tumor types were medulloblastoma, craniopharyngioma, and ependymoma. Endocrine evaluation was initiated with changes in the patients' growth velocity. Patient workup included skeletal x-ray films for determination of bone age, and analysis of thyroxin, thyroid-stimulating hormone, and somatomedin-C levels. Following l-dopa and clonidine stimulation, provocative studies of GH levels were performed.

Growth hormone failure and short stature were observed in 26 children, most commonly in the 2nd year after tumor treatment. Eight patients with GH failure were also hypothyroid. Hormone replacement therapy was initiated with recombinant GH, 0.05 mg/kg/day, and all children so treated showed an increase in height, with eight patients experiencing catch-up growth. There were no complications of therapy or tumor recurrence.

Studies of baseline bone age and somatomedin-C levels on completion of radiation therapy are recommended. Comprehensive endocrine studies should follow changes in the patients' growth velocity. With early GH replacement, catch-up growth is possible and normal adult heights may be achieved.

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Derek G. Southwell, Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper, David W. Perry, and Mitchel S. Berger


To avoid iatrogenic injury during the removal of intrinsic cerebral neoplasms such as gliomas, direct electrical stimulation (DES) is used to identify cortical and subcortical white matter pathways critical for language, motor, and sensory function. When a patient undergoes more than 1 brain tumor resection as in the case of tumor recurrence, the use of DES provides an unusual opportunity to examine brain plasticity in the setting of neurological disease.


The authors examined 561 consecutive cases in which patients underwent DES mapping during surgery forglioma resection. “Positive” and “negative” sites—discrete cortical regions where electrical stimulation did (positive) or did not (negative) produce transient sensory, motor, or language disturbance—were identified prior to tumor resection and documented by intraoperative photography for categorization into functional maps. In this group of 561 patients, 18 were identified who underwent repeat surgery in which 1 or more stimulation sites overlapped with those tested during the initial surgery. The authors compared intraoperative sensory, motor, or language mapping results between initial and repeat surgeries, and evaluated the clinical outcomes for these patients.


A total of 117 sites were tested for sensory (7 sites, 6.0%), motor (9 sites, 7.7%), or language (101 sites, 86.3%) function during both initial and repeat surgeries. The mean interval between surgical procedures was 4.1 years. During initial surgeries, 95 (81.2%) of 117 sites were found to be negative and 22 (18.8%) of 117 sites were found to be positive. During repeat surgeries, 103 (88.0%) of 117 sites were negative and 14 (12.0%) of 117 were positive. Of the 95 sites that were negative at the initial surgery, 94 (98.9%) were also negative at the repeat surgery, while 1 (1.1%) site was found to be positive. Of the 22 sites that were initially positive, 13 (59.1%) remained positive at repeat surgery, while 9 (40.9%) had become negative for function. Overall, 6 (33.3%) of 18 patients exhibited loss of function at 1 or more motor or language sites between surgeries. Loss of function at these sites was not associated with neurological impairment at the time of repeat surgery, suggesting that neurological function was preserved through neural circuit reorganization or activation of latent functional pathways.


The adult central nervous system reorganizes motor and language areas in patients with glioma. Ultimately, adult neural plasticity may help to preserve motor and language function in the presence of evolving structural lesions. The insight gained from this subset of patients has implications for our understanding of brain plasticity in clinical settings.

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Tene A. Cage, Melike Pekmezci, Michael Prados, and Mitchel S. Berger

Recurrent glioblastoma (GBM) can occur locally or at distant sites within the brain. Though MRI is the standard imaging modality for primary and recurrent GBM, the full extent of diffuse lesions may not be appreciated on MRI alone. Glioblastomas with ependymal and/or subependymal spread are examples of diffuse infiltrative tumors that are incompletely seen on MRI. Some other adjuvant visualization technique such as intraoperative fluorescence-assisted 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) could be used to assist the surgeon in localizing the infiltrating tumor.

The authors report on a 56-year-old man who presented 7 years after initial resection of an occipital lobe GBM with imaging consistent with distant discrete foci of tumor recurrence. Because these foci were distant from the original resection cavity, there was concern for diffuse, infiltrative tumor elsewhere throughout the brain versus a distant multicentric recurrence. Therefore, the patient was given 5-ALA prior to surgery to aid in tumor detection intraoperatively. Using fluorescent visualization of the resection cavity, it was confirmed that there was subependymal and ependymal spread of the recurrent tumor along the lateral ventricle connecting the recurrence to the previous tumor site.

Magnetic resonance imaging may not completely detect the presence of diffuse tumor infiltrating the ependymal or subependymal spaces. Therefore, adjunct intraoperative use of fluorescence-assisted visualization with 5-ALA may be helpful in highlighting and detecting infiltrative tumor to accurately detect tumor burden and distinguish it from a separate multicentric recurrence.

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Darryl Lau, Mitchel S. Berger, Dhruv Khullar, and John Maa

Cigarette smoking is a common health risk behavior among the general adult population, and is the leading preventable cause of morbidity and mortality in the US. The surgical literature shows that active tobacco smoking is a major risk factor for perioperative morbidity and complications, and that preoperative smoking cessation is an effective measure to lower these risks associated with active smoking. However, few studies have examined the effects of smoking and perioperative complications following neurosurgical procedures. The goal of this review was to highlight the scientific data that do exist regarding the impact of smoking on neurosurgical outcomes, to promote awareness of the need for further work in the specific neurosurgical context, and to suggest ways that neurosurgeons can promote smoking cessation in their patients and lead efforts nationally to emphasize the importance of preoperative smoking cessation. This review indicates that there is limited but good evidence that smoking is associated with higher rates of perioperative complications following neurosurgical intervention. Specific research is needed to understand the effects of smoking and perioperative complications. Neurosurgeons should encourage preoperative smoking cessation as part of their clinical practice to mitigate perioperative morbidity associated with active smoking.