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Tal Shahar, Akiva Korn, Gal Barkay, Tali Biron, Amir Hadanny, Tomer Gazit, Erez Nossek, Margaret Ekstein, Anat Kesler and Zvi Ram

OBJECTIVE

Resection of intraaxial tumors adjacent to the optic radiation (OR) may be associated with postoperative visual field (VF) deficits. Intraoperative navigation using MRI-based tractography and electrophysiological monitoring of the visual pathways may allow maximal resection while preserving visual function. In this study, the authors evaluated the value of visual pathway mapping in a series of patients undergoing awake craniotomy for tumor resection.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data was conducted in 18 patients who underwent an awake craniotomy for resection of intraaxial tumors involving or adjacent to the OR. Preoperative MRI-based tractography was used for intraoperative navigation, and intraoperative acquisition of 3D ultrasonography images was performed for real-time imaging and correction of brain shift. Goggles with light-emitting diodes were used as a standard visual stimulus. Direct cortical visual evoked potential (VEP) recording, subcortical recordings from the OR, and subcortical stimulation of the OR were used intraoperatively to assess visual function and proximity of the lesion to the OR. VFs were assessed pre- and postoperatively.

RESULTS

Baseline cortical VEP recordings were available for 14 patients (77.7%). No association was found between preoperative VF status and baseline presence of cortical VEPs (p = 0.27). Five of the 14 patients (35.7%) who underwent subcortical stimulation of the OR reported seeing phosphenes in the corresponding contralateral VF. There was a positive correlation (r = 0.899, p = 0.04) between the subcortical threshold stimulation intensity (3–11.5 mA) and the distance from the OR. Subcortical recordings from the OR demonstrated a typical VEP waveform in 10 of the 13 evaluated patients (76.9%). These waveforms were present only when recordings were obtained within 10 mm of the OR (p = 0.04). Seven patients (38.9%) had postoperative VF deterioration, and it was associated with a length of < 8 mm between the tumor and the OR (p = 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Intraoperative electrophysiological monitoring of the visual pathways is feasible but may be of limited value in preserving the functional integrity of the posterior visual pathways. Subcortical stimulation of the OR may identify the location of the OR when done in proximity to the pathways, but such proximity may be associated with increased risk of postoperative worsening of the VF deficit.

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Ori Barzilai, Zvi Lidar, Shlomi Constantini, Khalil Salame, Yifat Bitan-Talmor and Akiva Korn

Intramedullary spinal cord tumors (IMSCTs) represent a rare entity, accounting for 4%–10% of all central nervous system tumors. Microsurgical resection of IMSCTs is currently considered the primary treatment modality. Intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring (IONM) has been shown to aid in maximizing tumor resection and minimizing neurological morbidity, consequently improving patient outcome. The gold standard for IONM to date is multimodality monitoring, consisting of both somatosensory evoked potentials, as well as muscle-based transcranial electric motor evoked potentials (tcMEPs). Monitoring of tcMEPs is optimal when combining transcranial electrically stimulated muscle tcMEPs with D-wave monitoring. Despite continuous monitoring of these modalities, when classic monitoring techniques are used, there can be an inherent delay in time between actual structural or vascular-based injury to the corticospinal tracts (CSTs) and its revelation. Often, tcMEP stimulation is precluded by the surgeon’s preference that the patient not twitch, especially at the most crucial times during resection. In addition, D-wave monitoring may require a few seconds of averaging until updating, and can be somewhat indiscriminate to laterality. Therefore, a method that will provide immediate information regarding the vulnerability of the CSTs is still needed.

The authors performed a retrospective series review of resection of IMSCTs using the tip of an ultrasonic aspirator for continuous proximity mapping of the motor fibers within the spinal cord, along with classic muscle-based tcMEP and D-wave monitoring.

The authors present their preliminary experience with 6 patients who underwent resection of an IMSCT using the tip of an ultrasonic aspirator for continuous proximity mapping of the motor fibers within the spinal cord, together with classic muscle-based tcMEP and D-wave monitoring. This fusion of technologies can potentially assist in optimizing resection while preserving neurological function in these challenging surgeries.

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Ori Barzilai, Jonathan Roth, Akiva Korn and Shlomi Constantini

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Khalil Salame, Shimon Maimon, Gilad J. Regev, Tali Jonas Kimchi, Akiva Korn, Laurence Mangel and Zvi Lidar

OBJECTIVE

Preoperative embolization is performed before spine tumor surgery when significant intraoperative hemorrhage is anticipated. Occlusion of radicular and segmental arteries may result in spinal ischemia. The goal of this study was to check whether neurophysiological monitoring during preoperative angiography in patients scheduled for total en bloc spondylectomy (TES) of spine tumors improves the safety of vessel occlusion.

METHODS

This was a case series study of patients who underwent tumor embolization under somatosensory evoked potential (SSEP) and motor evoked potential (MEP) monitoring in preparation for TES in treating spine tumors. The angiography findings, the embolized vessels, and the results are presented.

RESULTS

Five patients whose ages ranged from 33 to 75 years and who had thoracic spine tumors are reported. Four patients suffered from primary tumor and 1 patient had a metastatic tumor. Radicular arteries at the tumor level, 1 level above, and 1 level below were permanently occluded when SSEPs and MEPs were preserved during temporary occlusion. No complications were encountered during or after the angiography procedure and embolization.

CONCLUSIONS

Temporary occlusion with electrophysiological monitoring during preoperative angiography may improve the safety of permanent radicular artery occlusion, including the artery of Adamkiewicz in patients undergoing TES for the treatment of spine tumors.

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Tal Gonen, Rachel Grossman, Razi Sitt, Erez Nossek, Raneen Yanaki, Emanuela Cagnano, Akiva Korn, Daniel Hayat and Zvi Ram

Object

Intraoperative seizures during awake craniotomy may interfere with patients' ability to cooperate throughout the procedure, and it may affect their outcome. The authors have assessed the occurrence of intraoperative seizures during awake craniotomy in regard to tumor location and the isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) status of the tumor.

Methods

Data were collected in 137 consecutive patients who underwent awake craniotomy for removal of a brain tumor. The authors performed a retrospective analysis of the incidence of seizures based on the tumor location and its IDH1 mutation status, and then compared the groups for clinical variables and surgical outcome parameters.

Results

Tumor location was strongly associated with the occurrence of intraoperative seizures. Eleven patients (73%) with tumor located in the supplementary motor area (SMA) experienced intraoperative seizures, compared with 17 (13.9%) with tumors in the other three non-SMA brain regions (p < 0.0001). Interestingly, there was no significant association between history of seizures and tumor location (p = 0.44). Most of the patients (63.6%) with tumor in the SMA region harbored an IDH1 mutation compared with those who had tumors in non-SMA regions. Thirty-one of 52 patients (60%) with a preoperative history of seizures had an IDH1 mutation (p = 0.02), and 15 of 22 patients (68.2%) who experienced intraoperative seizures had an IDH1 mutation (p = 0.03). In a multivariate analysis, tumor location was found as a significant predictor of intraoperative seizures (p = 0.002), and a trend toward IDH1 mutation as such a predictor was found as well (p = 0.06). Intraoperative seizures were not associated with worse outcome.

Conclusions

Patients with tumors located in the SMA are more prone to develop intraoperative seizures during awake craniotomy compared with patients who have a tumor in non-SMA frontal areas and other brain regions. The IDH1 mutation was more common in SMA region tumors compared with other brain regions, and may be an additional risk factor for the occurrence of intraoperative seizures.

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Erez Nossek, Idit Matot, Tal Shahar, Ori Barzilai, Yoni Rapoport, Tal Gonen, Gal Sela, Akiva Korn, Daniel Hayat and Zvi Ram

Object

Awake craniotomy for removal of intraaxial tumors within or adjacent to eloquent brain regions is a well-established procedure. However, awake craniotomy failures have not been well characterized. In the present study, the authors aimed to analyze and assess the incidence and causes for failed awake craniotomy.

Methods

The database of awake craniotomies performed at Tel Aviv Medical Center between 2003 and 2010 was reviewed. Awake craniotomy was considered a failure if conversion to general anesthesia was required, or if adequate mapping or monitoring could not have been achieved.

Results

Of 488 patients undergoing awake craniotomy, 424 were identified as having complete medical, operative, and anesthesiology records. The awake craniotomies performed in 27 (6.4%) of these 424 patients were considered failures. The main causes of failure were lack of intraoperative communication with the patient (n = 18 [4.2%]) and/or intraoperative seizures (n = 9 [2.1%]). Preoperative mixed dysphasia (p < 0.001) and treatment with phenytoin (p = 0.0019) were related to failure due to lack of communication. History of seizures (p = 0.03) and treatment with multiple antiepileptic drugs (p = 0.0012) were found to be related to failure due to intraoperative seizures. Compared with the successful awake craniotomy group, a significantly lower rate of gross-total resection was achieved (83% vs 54%, p = 0.008), there was a higher incidence of short-term speech deterioration postoperatively (6.1% vs 23.5%, p = 0.0017) as well as at 3 months postoperatively (2.3% vs 15.4%, p = 0.0002), and the hospitalization period was longer (4.9 ± 6.2 days vs 8.0 ± 10.1 days, p < 0.001). Significantly more major complications occurred in the failure group (4 [14.8%] of 27) than in the successful group (16 [4%] of 397) (p = 0.037).

Conclusions

Failures of awake craniotomy were associated with a lower incidence of gross-total resection and increased postoperative morbidity. The majority of awake craniotomy failures were preventable by adequate patient selection and avoiding side effects of drugs administered during surgery.

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Erez Nossek, Akiva Korn, Tal Shahar, Andrew A. Kanner, Hillary Yaffe, Daniel Marcovici, Carmit Ben-Harosh, Haim Ben Ami, Maya Weinstein, Irit Shapira-Lichter, Shlomi Constantini, Talma Hendler and Zvi Ram

Object

Preserving motor function is a major challenge in surgery for intraaxial brain tumors. Navigation systems are unreliable in predicting the location of the corticospinal tracts (CSTs) because of brain shift and the inability of current intraoperative systems to produce reliable diffusion tensor imaging data. The authors describe their experience with elaborate neurophysiological assessment and tractography-based navigation, corrected in real time by 3D intraoperative ultrasonography (IOUS) to identify motor pathways during subcortical tumor resection.

Methods

A retrospective analysis was conducted in 55 patients undergoing resection of tumors located within or in proximity to the CSTs at the authors' institution between November 2007 and June 2009. Corticospinal tract tractography was coregistered to surgical navigation-derived images in 42 patients. Direct cortical-stimulated motor evoked potentials (dcMEPs) and subcortical-stimulated MEPs (scrtMEPs) were recorded intraoperatively to assess function and estimate the distance from the CSTs. Intraoperative ultrasonography updated the navigation imaging and estimated resection proximity to the CSTs. Preoperative clinical motor function was compared with postoperative outcome at several time points and correlated with incidences of intraoperative dcMEP alarm and low scrtMEP values.

Results

The threshold level needed to elicit scrtMEPs was plotted against the distance to the CSTs based on diffusion tensor imaging tractography after brain shift compensation with 3D IOUS, generating a trend line that demonstrated a linear order between these variables, and a relationship of 0.97 mA for every 1 mm of brain tissue distance from the CSTs. Clinically, 39 (71%) of 55 patients had no postoperative deficits, and 9 of the remaining 16 improved to baseline function within 1 month. Seven patients had varying degrees of permanent motor deficits. Subcortical stimulation was applied in 45 of the procedures. The status of 32 patients did not deteriorate postoperatively (stable or improved motor status): 27 of them (84%) displayed minimum scrtMEP thresholds > 7 mA. Six patients who experienced postoperative deterioration quickly recovered (within 5 days) and displayed minimum scrtMEP thresholds > 6.8 mA. Five of the 7 patients who had late (> 5 days postoperatively) or no recovery had minimal scrtMEP thresholds < 3 mA. An scrtMEP threshold of 3 mA was found to be the cutoff point below which irreversible disruption of CST integrity may be anticipated (sensitivity 83%, specificity 95%).

Conclusions

Combining elaborate neurophysiological assessment, tractography-based neuronavigation, and updated IOUS images provided accurate localization of the CSTs and enabled the safe resection of tumors approximating these tracts. This is the first attempt to evaluate the distance from the CSTs using the threshold of subcortical monopolar stimulation with real-time IOUS for the correction of brain shift. The linear correlation between the distance to the CSTs and the threshold of subcortical stimulation producing a motor response provides an intraoperative technique to better preserve motor function.