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  • Author or Editor: Johannes Schramm x
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Josef Zentner, Bernhard Meyer, Armin Stangl and Johannes Schramm

✓ Intrinsic insular tumors are frequently excluded from surgical treatment. The authors propose a more extensive approach to these lesions based on the results of this prospective series. From September 1993 to January 1995, 30 patients (18 males and 12 females; mean age 42 years) harboring benign (15 patients) or malignant (15 patients) tumors involving the insula underwent surgical treatment. The dominant and nondominant hemispheres were both affected in 15 cases. Two groups were defined on the basis of preoperative magnetic resonance (MR) imaging: 14 lesions were restricted to the insula and the corresponding opercula; the other 16 lesions also involved other mesocortical and/or allocortical areas. Most patients displayed only mild preoperative symptoms. The median score according to the Karnofsky performance scale was 90. Microsurgical removal was achieved via a transsylvian approach in nine cases and via a frontal and/or temporal approach in 21 cases. According to early postoperative MR imaging, complete tumor removal (100%) was seen in five patients, nearly complete (> 80%) in 21, and incomplete resection (50%–80%) in four patients. There was no operative mortality; 19 patients (63%) experienced immediate postoperative morbidity, including reduced performance. After a mean follow-up review of 8.5 months two of 21 patients suffered permanent deficits, accounting for an overall operative morbidity of 10%. At the mean time of review, three patients with Grade IV tumors had died of tumor recurrence. The authors conclude that low-grade intrinsic insular tumors, as well as Grade III tumors, can be removed with favorable results in the majority of patients. Surgery to excise glioblastomas should only be considered for patients with good preoperative performance and young age.

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Josef Zentner, Andreas Hufnagel, Ulrich Pechstein, Helmut K. Wolf and Johannes Schramm

✓ In this article, the authors report their experience with surgically induced supplementary motor area (SMA) deficiency syndrome in a prospective clinical trial of 28 patients who underwent surgery for tumorous (19 patients) or nontumorous (nine patients) lesions. The dominant side was affected in 17 patients and the nondominant side in 11 patients. The primary presenting symptoms included seizure activity (23 patients), hemiparesis (four patients), and aphasia (one patient). Functional topographic mapping, achieved by phase reversal of somatosensory evoked potentials, allowed precise localization of the central sulcus in 25 of the 28 patients. Motor evoked potential (MEP) monitoring, which was performed successfully in 13 of 15 cases during the resective procedure, showed no significant changes in the potentials in any patient. Immediately after surgery, 25 (89%) of the 28 patients displayed additional neurological deficits (aphasia and/or hemiparesis) that depended on the extent of the SMA resection. In 12 patients the SMA was resected completely: nine of these patients demonstrated a complete and three an incomplete deficit. In 16 patients the SMA resection was incomplete: 13 of these patients displayed an incomplete deficit, whereas three had no deficit. Neurological disorders resolved completely within 3 to 42 days (mean 11 days), except for a minimal disturbance of fine motor and/or speech function in complex tasks or at high speed. Electromagnetically elicited MEPs, examined postoperatively in five patients, were initially absent but recovered with improvement of motor function. In conclusion, although the SMA is known to control important functions such as initiation of motor activity or speech, our findings show that unilateral SMA removal can be accomplished without resulting in significant permanent deficits. Functional topographic mapping and monitoring facilitate the exact delineation of the adequate resection plane along the precentral sulcus, and postoperative magnetic resonance imaging allows precise correlation of clinical and anatomical data.

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Josef Zentner, Helmut K. Wolf, Christof Helmstaedter, Thomas Grunwald, Ales F. Aliashkevich, Otmar D. Wiestler, Christian E. Elger and Johannes Schramm

Object. The goal of this study was to define the incidence and clinical significance of amygdala sclerosis (AS) in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE).

Methods. Surgical specimens of the lateral amygdaloid nucleus and the hippocampus excised from 71 patients who were treated for medically intractable TLE were quantitatively evaluated using a computer-assisted image-analysis system and compared with 10 normal autopsy specimens. Densities of neurons and reactive astrocytes in the patients with TLE were correlated with clinical, neuropsychological, and depth-electroencephalography data. The neuron counts of the lateral amygdaloid nucleus did not correlate with various presumed etiological factors of TLE including hereditary seizures, birth complications, febrile convulsions, traumatic brain injury, infections, seizure semiology, and epileptological outcome. However, patient age at surgery was significantly higher (mean difference 10 years) when AS was present, as compared with patients without AS (p < 0.01). Seizure origin, as determined by using amygdalohippocampal depth electrodes, did not correlate with the presence or absence of AS. Neuropsychologically, there was a significant correlation between the neuronal densities of the lateral amygdaloid nucleus and both preoperative visual recognition and postoperative deterioration of short-term verbal memory performance (p < 0.05).

Conclusions. Except for the relatively long history of epilepsy, the presence of AS is not associated with specific clinical or electrocorticographic features of mesial TLE. However, patients without AS are particularly at risk for deterioration of short-term verbal memory following amygdalohippocampectomy.