Maximum extent of resection (EOR) for lower-grade and high-grade gliomas can increase survival rates of patients. However, these infiltrative gliomas are often observed near or within eloquent regions of the brain. Awake surgery is of known benefit for the treatment of gliomas associated with eloquent regions in that brain function can be preserved. On the other hand, intraoperative MRI (iMRI) has been successfully used to maximize the resection of tumors, which can detect small amounts of residual tumors. Therefore, the authors assessed the value of combining awake craniotomy and iMRI for the resection of brain tumors in eloquent areas of the brain.
The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of 33 consecutive patients with glial tumors in the eloquent brain areas who underwent awake surgery using iMRI. Volumetric analysis of MRI studies was performed. The pre-, intra-, and postoperative tumor volumes were measured in all cases using MRI studies obtained before, during, and after tumor resection.
Intraoperative MRI was performed to check for the presence of residual tumor during awake surgery in a total of 25 patients. Initial iMRI confirmed no further tumor resection in 9 patients (36%) because all observable tumors had already been removed. In contrast, intraoperative confirmation of residual tumor during awake surgery led to further tumor resection in 16 cases (64%) and eventually an EOR of more than 90% in 8 of 16 cases (50%). Furthermore, EOR benefiting from iMRI by more than 15% was found in 7 of 16 cases (43.8%). Interestingly, the increase in EOR as a result of iMRI for tumors associated mainly with the insular lobe was significantly greater, at 15.1%, than it was for the other tumors, which was 8.0% (p = 0.001).
This study revealed that combining awake surgery with iMRI was associated with a favorable surgical outcome for intrinsic brain tumors associated with eloquent areas. In particular, these benefits were noted for patients with tumors with complex anatomy, such as those associated with the insular lobe.