Assaf Berger, Uri Hochberg, Alexander Zegerman, Rotem Tellem and Ido Strauss
Cancer patients suffering from severe refractory pain may benefit from targeted ablative neurosurgical procedures aimed to disconnect pain pathways in the spinal cord or the brain. These patients often present with a plethora of medical problems requiring careful consideration before surgical interventions. The authors present their experience at an interdisciplinary clinic aimed to facilitate appropriate patient selection for neurosurgical procedures, and the outcome of these interventions.
This study was a retrospective review of all patients who underwent neurosurgical interventions for cancer pain in the authors’ hospital between March 2015 and April 2018. All patients had advanced metastatic cancer with limited life expectancy and suffered from intractable oncological pain.
Sixty patients underwent surgery during the study period. Forty-three patients with localized pain underwent disconnection of the spinal pain pathways: 34 percutaneous-cervical and 5 open-thoracic cordotomies, 2 stereotactic mesencephalotomies, and 2 midline myelotomies. Thirty-nine of 42 patients (93%) who completed these procedures had excellent immediate postoperative pain relief. At 1 month the improvement was maintained in 30/36 patients (83%) available for follow-up. There was 1 case of hemiparesis.
Twenty patients with diffuse pain underwent stereotactic cingulotomy. Nineteen of these patients reported substantial pain relief immediately after the operation. At 1 month good pain relief was maintained in 13/17 patients (76%) available for follow-up, and good pain relief was also found at 3 months in 7/11 patients (64%). There was no major morbidity or mortality.
With careful patient selection and tailoring of the appropriate procedure to the patient’s pain syndrome, the authors’ experience indicates that neurosurgical procedures are safe and effective in alleviating suffering in patients with intractable cancer pain.
Assaf Berger, Gali Tzarfati, Matias Costa, Marga Serafimova, Akiva Korn, Irina Vendrov, Tali Alfasi, Dana Krill, Daniel Aviram, Shlomit Ben Moshe, Alon Kashanian, Zvi Ram and Rachel Grossman
Ischemic complications are a common cause of neurological deficits following low-grade glioma (LGG) surgeries. In this study, the authors evaluated the incidence, risk factors, and long-term implications of intraoperative ischemic events.
The authors retrospectively evaluated patients who had undergone resection of an LGG between 2013 and 2017. Analysis included pre- and postoperative demographic, clinical, radiological, and anesthetic data, as well as intraoperative neurophysiology data, overall survival, and functional and neurocognitive outcomes.
Among the 82 patients included in the study, postoperative diffusion-weighted imaging showed evidence of acute ischemic strokes in 19 patients (23%), 13 of whom (68%) developed new neurological deficits. Infarcts were more common in recurrent and insular surgeries (p < 0.05). Survival was similar between the patients with and without infarcts. Immediately after surgery, 27% of the patients without infarcts and 58% of those with infarcts experienced motor deficits (p = 0.024), decreasing to 16% (p = 0.082) and 37% (p = 0.024), respectively, at 1 year. Neurocognitive functions before and 3 months after surgery were generally stable for the two groups, with the exception of a decline in verbal rhyming ability among patients with infarcts. Confusion during awake craniotomy was a strong predictor of the occurrence of an ischemic stroke. Mean arterial pressure at the beginning of surgery was significantly lower in the infarct group.
Recurrent surgeries and insular tumor locations are risk factors for intraoperative strokes. Although they do not affect survival, these strokes negatively affect patient activity and performance status, mainly during the first 3 postoperative months, with gradual functional improvement over 1 year. Several intraoperative parameters may suggest the impending development of an infarct.
Assaf Berger, Noa Cohen, Firas Fahoum, Mordekhay Medvedovsky, Aaron Meller, Dana Ekstein, Mony Benifla, Orna Aizenstein, Itzhak Fried, Tomer Gazit and Ido Strauss
Preoperative localization of seizure onset zones (SOZs) is an evolving field in the treatment of refractory epilepsy. Both magnetic source imaging (MSI), and the more recent EEG-correlated functional MRI (EEG-fMRI), have shown applicability in assisting surgical planning. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the capability of each method and their combination in localizing the seizure onset lobe (SL).
The study included 14 patients who underwent both MSI and EEG-fMRI before undergoing implantation of intracranial EEG (icEEG) as part of the presurgical planning of the resection of an epileptogenic zone (EZ) during the years 2012–2018. The estimated location of the SL by each method was compared with the location determined by icEEG. Identification rates of the SL were compared between the different methods.
MSI and EEG-fMRI showed similar identification rates of SL locations in relation to icEEG results (88% ± 31% and 73% ± 42%, respectively; p = 0.281). The additive use of the coverage lobes of both methods correctly identified 100% of the SL, significantly higher than EEG-fMRI alone (p = 0.039) and nonsignificantly higher than MSI (p = 0.180). False-identification rates of the additive coverage lobes were significantly higher than MSI (p = 0.026) and EEG-fMRI (p = 0.027). The intersecting lobes of both methods showed the lowest false identification rate (13% ± 6%, p = 0.01).
Both MSI and EEG-fMRI can assist in the presurgical evaluation of patients with refractory epilepsy. The additive use of both tests confers a high identification rate in finding the SL. This combination can help in focusing implantation of icEEG electrodes targeting the SOZ.