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Mitchel S. Berger

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Language localization in the dominant hemisphere

Mitchel S. Berger

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Mitchel S. Berger

✓ A skull-mounted apparatus is described for use with ultrasound probes 16 mm in diameter (5.0-MHz probes for near-field and 7.5-MHz probes for far-field lesions). The system permits ultrasound-guided stereotaxic biopsy of intracranial lesions through a burr hole in awake or anesthetized patients. This apparatus has been used in 19 patients for biopsy of central nervous system lesions 1.5 to 5 cm in diameter and for drainage of abscess cavities and cysts. The time required to obtain a tissue sample after incision of the skin ranged from 25 to 40 minutes. The only complication was a delayed hemorrhage in a patient with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. The advantages of this method over those guided by computerized tomography (CT) include less time required for the entire procedure, immediate confirmation of the biopsied target by imaging the echogenic needle track, assessment of cyst or abscess drainage, and detection of hemorrhage within minutes after biopsy. The apparatus may be especially useful in pediatric patients because it obviates the need for general anesthesia during transport to and from the CT scanner. This ultrasound-guided system does not require a craniotomy, craniectomy, or two separate burr holes.

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Insular glioma surgery: an evolution of thought and practice

JNSPG 75th Anniversary Invited Review Article

Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper and Mitchel S. Berger


The goal of this article is to review the history of surgery for low- and high-grade gliomas located within the insula with particular focus on microsurgical technique, anatomical considerations, survival, and postoperative morbidity.


The authors reviewed the literature for published reports focused on insular region anatomy, neurophysiology, surgical approaches, and outcomes for adults with World Health Organization grade II–IV gliomas.


While originally considered to pose too great a risk, insular glioma surgery can be performed safely due to the collective efforts of many individuals. Similar to resection of gliomas located within other cortical regions, maximal resection of gliomas within the insula offers patients greater survival time and superior seizure control for both newly diagnosed and recurrent tumors in this region. The identification and the preservation of M2 perforating and lateral lenticulostriate arteries are critical steps to preventing internal capsule stroke and hemiparesis. The transcortical approach and intraoperative mapping are useful tools to maximize safety.


The insula’s proximity to middle cerebral and lenticulostriate arteries, primary motor areas, and perisylvian language areas makes accessing and resecting gliomas in this region challenging. Maximal safe resection of insular gliomas not only is possible but also is associated with excellent outcomes and should be considered for all patients with low- and high-grade gliomas in this area.

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Mitchel S. Berger and Charles B. Wilson

✓ Epidermoid cysts originating in the paramedian basal cisterns of the posterior fossa are congenital lesions that grow to a large size through slow accumulation of desquamated epithelium. These lesions grow between and ultimately displace cranial nerves, vascular structures, and the brain stem, causing a long course of progressive neurological deficits. The onset of symptoms usually occurs during the fourth decade of life. Epidermoid cysts are easily diagnosed with computerized tomography scans, which characteristically show a low-density extra-axial pattern. The primary surgical objective is to decompress the mass by evacuating the cyst contents and removing nonadherent portions of the tumor capsule; portions of the capsule adherent to vital structures should be left undisturbed. Aseptic meningitis is the most common cause of postoperative morbidity, and its incidence may be minimized by intraoperative irrigation with steroids followed by systemic therapy with dexamethasone. Symptomatic recurrences that occur many years after surgery should be managed with conservative reoperation.

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Nader Sanai and Mitchel S. Berger

Although a primary tenet of neurosurgical oncology is that survival can improve with greater tumor resection, this principle must be tempered by the potential for functional loss following a radical removal. Preoperative planning with functional and physiological imaging paradigms, combined with intraoperative strategies such as cortical and subcortical stimulation mapping, can effectively reduce the risks associated with operating in eloquent territory. In addition to identifying critical motor pathways, these techniques can be adapted to identify language function reliably. The authors review the technical nuances of intraoperative mapping for low- and high-grade gliomas, demonstrating their efficacy in optimizing resection even in patients with negative mapping data. Collectively, these surgical strategies represent the cornerstone for operating on gliomas in and around functional pathways.

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Anil Sehgal and Mitchel S. Berger

The immune system is a complex network of specialized cells and organs that defends the human body against attack from foreign pathogens. The major lymphocytes involved in protecting the body against potential infections are B and T cells, which also play an important role in combating tumor growth. The cells of the immune system patrol the tissues and organs through both blood and lymphatic vessels, but some organs—including cornea, testes, and brain—are usually not patrolled by these cells. The brain has been thought to be an immune-privileged site because of the tight blood–brain barrier (BBB) that protects it. Few cells migrate to the brain under normal circumstances, because the BBB permits only certain molecules to cross into brain tissue. Recently, however, studies have shown that activated T cells exposed to antigen can cross the intact BBB and migrate into brain. This finding opens the path to developing effective means of immunotherapy for lesions of the central nervous system. The authors discuss basic facets of the immune system, review the current knowledge about human neuroimmunology, and survey current strategies for developing immunotherapy-based treatments for human brain tumors.

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Carl J. Sartorius and Mitchel S. Berger

✓ One major risk of intraoperative stimulation mapping is the production of stimulation-evoked seizures. Cold Ringer's lactate solution was applied directly to the irritated cortex in 22 patients with stimulation-induced seizures that occurred during intraoperative brain mapping procedures. The irrigation rapidly and reliably terminated these simple partial seizures and eliminated the need for intravenously administered short-acting barbiturates with antiepileptic properties. The authors describe a practical and simple method for controlling stimulation-induced seizure activity during brain mapping procedures.