Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) has been increasingly used to treat deep-seated tumors. Despite its being minimally invasive, there is a risk of LITT damaging adjacent critical structures, including corticospinal tracts (CSTs). In this study, the authors investigated the predictive value of overlap between the hyperthermic field and CSTs in determining postoperative motor deficit (PMDs).
More than 140 patients underwent an LITT procedure in our institution between April 2011 and June 2015. Because of the tumor's proximity to critical structures, 80 of them underwent preoperative diffusion tensor imaging and were included in this study. Extent of the hyperthermic field was delineated by the software as thermal-damage-threshold (TDT) lines (yellow [43°C for 2 minutes], blue [43°C for 10 minutes], and white [43°C for 60 minutes]). The maximum volume and the surface area of overlaps between motor fibers and the TDT lines were calculated and compared with the PMDs.
High-grade glioma (n = 46) was the most common indication for LITT. Postoperative motor deficits (partial or complete) were seen in 14 patients (11 with permanent and 3 with temporary PMDs). The median overlap volumes between CSTs with yellow, blue, and white TDT lines in patients with any PMD (temporary or permanent) were 1.15, 0.68, and 0.41 cm3, respectively. The overlap volumes and surface areas revealed significant differences in those with PMDs and those with no deficits (p = 0.0019 and 0.003, 0.012 and 0.0012, and 0.001 and 0.005 for the yellow, blue, and white TDT lines, respectively). The receiver operating characteristic was used to select the optimal cutoff point of the overlapped volumes and areas. Cutoff points for overlap volumes and areas based on optimal sensitivity (92%–100%) and specificity (80%–90%) were 0.103, 0.068, and 0.046 cm3 and 0.15, 0.07, and 0.11 mm2 for the yellow, blue, and white TDT lines, respectively.
Even a minimal overlap between the TDT lines and CSTs can cause a PMD after LITT. Precise planning and avoidance of critical structures and important white matter fibers should be considered when treating deep-seated tumors.