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Christian Dorfer, Gregor Kasprian, Angelika Mühlebner and Thomas Czech

Hypothalamic hamartomas are rare lesions for which different classification schemes have been proposed. The authors report on an exceptionally large solid-cystic hamartoma that led to hydrocephalus, precocious puberty, and intractable gelastic seizures. They discuss potential mechanisms of the development of hypothalamic hamartomas.

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Christian Dorfer, Georgi Minchev, Thomas Czech, Harald Stefanits, Martha Feucht, Ekaterina Pataraia, Christoph Baumgartner, Gernot Kronreif and Stefan Wolfsberger

OBJECTIVE

The authors' group recently published a novel technique for a navigation-guided frameless stereotactic approach for the placement of depth electrodes in epilepsy patients. To improve the accuracy of the trajectory and enhance the procedural workflow, the authors implemented the iSys1 miniature robotic device in the present study into this routine.

METHODS

As a first step, a preclinical phantom study was performed using a human skull model, and the accuracy and timing between 5 electrodes implanted with the manual technique and 5 with the aid of the robot were compared. After this phantom study showed an increased accuracy with robot-assisted electrode placement and confirmed the robot's ability to maintain stability despite the rotational forces and the leverage effect from drilling and screwing, patients were enrolled and analyzed for robot-assisted depth electrode placement at the authors' institution from January 2014 to December 2015. All procedures were performed with the S7 Surgical Navigation System with Synergy Cranial software and the iSys1 miniature robotic device.

RESULTS

Ninety-three electrodes were implanted in 16 patients (median age 33 years, range 3–55 years; 9 females, 7 males). The authors saw a significant increase in accuracy compared with their manual technique, with a median deviation from the planned entry and target points of 1.3 mm (range 0.1–3.4 mm) and 1.5 mm (range 0.3–6.7 mm), respectively. For the last 5 patients (31 electrodes) of this series the authors modified their technique in placing a guide for implantation of depth electrodes (GIDE) on the bone and saw a significant further increase in the accuracy at the entry point to 1.18 ± 0.5 mm (mean ± SD) compared with 1.54 ± 0.8 mm for the first 11 patients (p = 0.021). The median length of the trajectories was 45.4 mm (range 19–102.6 mm). The mean duration of depth electrode placement from the start of trajectory alignment to fixation of the electrode was 15.7 minutes (range 8.5–26.6 minutes), which was significantly faster than with the manual technique. In 12 patients, depth electrode placement was combined with subdural electrode placement. The procedure was well tolerated in all patients. The authors did not encounter any case of hemorrhage or neurological deficit related to the electrode placement. In 1 patient with a psoriasis vulgaris, a superficial wound infection was encountered. Adequate physiological recordings were obtained from all electrodes. No additional electrodes had to be implanted because of misplacement.

CONCLUSIONS

The iSys1 robotic device is a versatile and easy to use tool for frameless implantation of depth electrodes for the treatment of epilepsy. It increased the accuracy of the authors' manual technique by 60% at the entry point and over 30% at the target. It further enhanced and expedited the authors' procedural workflow.

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Christian Dorfer, Thomas Czech, Susanne Aull-Watschinger, Christoph Baumgartner, Rebekka Jung, Gregor Kasprian, Klaus Novak, Susanne Pirker, Birgit Seidl, Harald Stefanits, Karin Trimmel and Ekaterina Pataraia

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to present long-term seizure outcome data in a consecutive series of patients with refractory mesial temporal lobe epilepsy primarily treated with transsylvian selective amygdalohippocampectomy (SAHE).

METHODS

The authors retrospectively analyzed prospectively collected data for all patients who had undergone resective surgery for medically refractory epilepsy at their institution between July 1994 and December 2014. Seizure outcome was assessed according to the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) and the Engel classifications.

RESULTS

The authors performed an SAHE in 158 patients (78 males, 80 females; 73 right side, 85 left side) with a mean age of 37.1 ± 10.0 years at surgery. Four patients lost to follow-up and 1 patient who committed suicide were excluded from analysis. The mean follow-up period was 9.7 years. At the last available follow-up (or before reoperation), 68 patients (44.4%) had achieved an outcome classified as ILAE Class 1a, 46 patients (30.1%) Class 1, 6 patients (3.9%) Class 2, 16 patients (10.4%) Class 3, 15 patients (9.8%) Class 4, and 2 patients (1.3%) Class 5. These outcomes correspond to Engel Class I in 78.4% of the patients, Engel Class II in 10.5%, Engel Class III in 8.5%, and Engel Class IV in 2.0%. Eleven patients underwent a second surgery (anterior temporal lobectomy) after a mean of 4.4 years from the SAHE (left side in 6 patients, right side in 5). Eight (72.7%) of these 11 patients achieved seizure freedom.

The overall ILEA seizure outcome since (re)operation after a mean follow-up of 10.0 years was Class 1a in 72 patients (47.0%), Class 1 in 50 patients (32.6%), Class 2 in 7 patients (4.6%), Class 3 in 15 patients (9.8%), Class 4 in 8 patients (5.2%), and Class 5 in 1 patient (0.6%). These outcomes correspond to an Engel Class I outcome in 84.3% of the patients.

CONCLUSIONS

A satisfactory long-term seizure outcome following transsylvian SAHE was demonstrated in a selected group of patients with refractory temporal lobe epilepsy.

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Georgi Minchev, Gernot Kronreif, Mauricio Martínez-Moreno, Christian Dorfer, Alexander Micko, Aygül Mert, Barbara Kiesel, Georg Widhalm, Engelbert Knosp and Stefan Wolfsberger

OBJECTIVE

Robotic devices have recently been introduced in stereotactic neurosurgery in order to overcome the limitations of frame-based and frameless techniques in terms of accuracy and safety. The aim of this study is to evaluate the feasibility and accuracy of the novel, miniature, iSYS1 robotic guidance device in stereotactic neurosurgery.

METHODS

A preclinical phantom trial was conducted to compare the accuracy and duration of needle positioning between the robotic and manual technique in 162 cadaver biopsies. Second, 25 consecutive cases of tumor biopsies and intracranial catheter placements were performed with robotic guidance to evaluate the feasibility, accuracy, and duration of system setup and application in a clinical setting.

RESULTS

The preclinical phantom trial revealed a mean target error of 0.6 mm (range 0.1–0.9 mm) for robotic guidance versus 1.2 mm (range 0.1–2.6 mm) for manual positioning of the biopsy needle (p < 0.001). The mean duration was 2.6 minutes (range 1.3–5.5 minutes) with robotic guidance versus 3.7 minutes (range 2.0–10.5 minutes) with manual positioning (p < 0.001). Clinical application of the iSYS1 robotic guidance device was feasible in all but 1 case. The median real target error was 1.3 mm (range 0.2–2.6 mm) at entry and 0.9 mm (range 0.0–3.1 mm) at the target point. The median setup and instrument positioning times were 11.8 minutes (range 4.2–26.7 minutes) and 4.9 minutes (range 3.1–14.0 minutes), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

According to the preclinical data, application of the iSYS1 robot can significantly improve accuracy and reduce instrument positioning time. During clinical application, the robot proved its high accuracy, short setup time, and short instrument positioning time, as well as demonstrating a short learning curve.

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Christian Dorfer, Thomas Czech, Angelika Mühlebner-Fahrngruber, Aygül Mert, Gudrun Gröppel, Klaus Novak, Anastasia Dressler, Edith Reiter-Fink, Tatjana Traub-Weidinger and Martha Feucht

Object

Outcomes following functional hemispherotomy in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy have been well described. However, studies reporting long-term longitudinal outcomes after subhemispheric disconnective epilepsy surgery are still limited.

Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective review of prospectively collected data of 10 children who underwent temporoparietooccipital (TPO) disconnective surgery at the Vienna Pediatric Epilepsy Center.

Results

There were 3 males and 7 females (median age 8.7 years; range 4.2–22.1 years). The affected hemisphere was the left in 3 patients and the right in 7. The patients' median age at seizure onset was 3.0 years (range 0.2–8.3 years). The median duration of epilepsy before surgery was 5.2 years (range 1.3–17.2 years). The underlying pathology was TPO malformation of cortical development in 5 patients, and venous infarction, posterior hemispheric quadrant atrophy, Sturge-Weber syndrome, cortical involvement of a systemic lupus erythematosus, and gliosis after cerebral tumor treatment in 1 each. In 6 children, a pure TPO disconnection was performed; in 2 patients, the temporal lobe was resected and parietooccipital disconnection was performed. The 2 remaining patients had had previous epilepsy surgery that was extended to a TPO disconnection: disconnection of the occipital lobe (n = 1) and resection of the temporal lobe (n = 1). The authors encountered no complications while performing surgery. No patient needed blood replacement therapy. No patient developed CSF disturbances that warranted treatment. Nine of 10 patients are currently seizure free since surgery (Wieser Class 1a) at a median follow-up time of 2.1 years (range 4 months to 8.1 years).

Conclusions

Temporoparietooccipital disconnection is a safe and effective motor-sparing epilepsy surgery in selected cases. Technical adjuncts facilitate a better intraoperative visualization and orientation, thereby enabling a less invasive approach than previously suggested.

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Tatjana Traub-Weidinger, Philip Weidinger, Gundrun Gröppel, Georgios Karanikas, Wolfgang Wadsak, Gregor Kasprian, Christian Dorfer, Anastasia Dressler, Angelika Muehlebner, Marcus Hacker, Thomas Czech and Martha Feucht

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to investigate whether fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose PET (18F-FDG PET) can help to predict seizure outcome after hemispherotomy and therefore may be useful in decision making and patient selection.

METHODS

Children and adolescents less than 18 years of age who underwent 18F-FDG PET studies during presurgical evaluation prior to hemispherotomy and had follow-up data of at least 12 months after surgery were included. Seizure outcome was classified according to the recommendations of the International League Against Epilepsy. PET data were reevaluated by two specialists in nuclear medicine blinded to clinical data and to MRI. MRI studies were also reinterpreted visually by an experienced neuroradiologist blinded to clinical data and PET findings.

RESULTS

Thirty-five patients (17 girls) with a median age of 5 years (range 0.4–17.8 years) were evaluable. Of the 35 patients, 91.4% were seizure free after surgery, including 100% of those with unilateral 18F-FDG-PET hypometabolism compared with only 75% of those with bilateral hypometabolism. With respect to MRI, seizure freedom after surgery was observed in 96.4% of the patients with unilateral lesions compared with only 71.4% in those with bilateral MRI lesions. The best seizure outcomes were noted in patients with unilateral findings in both PET and MRI (100% seizure freedom) whereas only 50% of those with bilateral findings in both imaging techniques were seizure free. Furthermore, 100% of the patients with unilateral PET hypometabolism and bilateral MRI findings were also seizure free, but only 87.5% of those with bilateral PET hypometabolism and unilateral MRI findings.

CONCLUSIONS

According to these results, candidate selection for hemispherotomy can be optimized by the use of 18F-FDG PET as part of a multimodal presurgical evaluation program, especially in patients with inconsistent (bilateral) MRI findings.

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Georgi Minchev, Gernot Kronreif, Wolfgang Ptacek, Christian Dorfer, Alexander Micko, Svenja Maschke, Federico G. Legnani, Georg Widhalm, Engelbert Knosp and Stefan Wolfsberger

OBJECTIVE

As decisions regarding tumor diagnosis and subsequent treatment are increasingly based on molecular pathology, the frequency of brain biopsies is increasing. Robotic devices overcome limitations of frame-based and frameless techniques in terms of accuracy and usability. The aim of the present study was to present a novel, minimally invasive, robot-guided biopsy technique and compare the results with those of standard burr hole biopsy.

METHODS

A tubular minimally invasive instrument set was custom-designed for the iSYS-1 robot-guided biopsies. Feasibility, accuracy, duration, and outcome were compared in a consecutive series of 66 cases of robot-guided stereotactic biopsies between the minimally invasive (32 patients) and standard (34 patients) procedures.

RESULTS

Application of the minimally invasive instrument set was feasible in all patients. Compared with the standard burr hole technique, accuracy was significantly higher both at entry (median 1.5 mm [range 0.2–3.2 mm] vs 1.7 mm [range 0.8–5.1 mm], p = 0.008) and at target (median 1.5 mm [range 0.4–3.4 mm] vs 2.0 mm [range 0.8–3.9 mm], p = 0.019). The incision-to-suture time was significantly shorter (median 30 minutes [range 15–50 minutes] vs 37.5 minutes [range 25–105 minutes], p < 0.001). The skin incision was significantly shorter (median 16.3 mm [range 12.7–23.4 mm] vs 28.4 mm [range 20–42.2 mm], p = 0.002). A diagnostic tissue sample was obtained in all cases.

CONCLUSIONS

Application of the novel instrument set was feasible in all patients. According to the authors’ data, the minimally invasive robot-guidance procedure can significantly improve accuracy, reduce operating time, and improve the cosmetic result of stereotactic biopsies.

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Vejay N. Vakharia, Rachel Sparks, Roman Rodionov, Sjoerd B. Vos, Christian Dorfer, Jonathan Miller, Daniel Nilsson, Martin Tisdall, Stefan Wolfsberger, Andrew W. McEvoy, Anna Miserocchi, Gavin P. Winston, Aidan G. O’Keeffe, Sebastien Ourselin and John S. Duncan

OBJECTIVE

One-third of cases of focal epilepsy are drug refractory, and surgery might provide a cure. Seizure-free outcome after surgery depends on the correct identification and resection of the epileptogenic zone. In patients with no visible abnormality on MRI, or in cases in which presurgical evaluation yields discordant data, invasive stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) recordings might be necessary. SEEG is a procedure in which multiple electrodes are placed stereotactically in key targets within the brain to record interictal and ictal electrophysiological activity. Correlating this activity with seizure semiology enables identification of the seizure-onset zone and key structures within the ictal network. The main risk related to electrode placement is hemorrhage, which occurs in 1% of patients who undergo the procedure. Planning safe electrode placement for SEEG requires meticulous adherence to the following: 1) maximize the distance from cerebral vasculature, 2) avoid crossing sulcal pial boundaries (sulci), 3) maximize gray matter sampling, 4) minimize electrode length, 5) drill at an angle orthogonal to the skull, and 6) avoid critical neurological structures. The authors provide a validation of surgical strategizing and planning with EpiNav, a multimodal platform that enables automated computer-assisted planning (CAP) for electrode placement with user-defined regions of interest.

METHODS

Thirteen consecutive patients who underwent implantation of a total 116 electrodes over a 15-month period were studied retrospectively. Models of the cortex, gray matter, and sulci were generated from patient-specific whole-brain parcellation, and vascular segmentation was performed on the basis of preoperative MR venography. Then, the multidisciplinary implantation strategy and precise trajectory planning were reconstructed using CAP and compared with the implemented manually determined plans. Paired results for safety metric comparisons were available for 104 electrodes. External validity of the suitability and safety of electrode entry points, trajectories, and target-point feasibility was sought from 5 independent, blinded experts from outside institutions.

RESULTS

CAP-generated electrode trajectories resulted in a statistically significant improvement in electrode length, drilling angle, gray matter–sampling ratio, minimum distance from segmented vasculature, and risk (p < 0.05). The blinded external raters had various opinions of trajectory feasibility that were not statistically significant, and they considered a mean of 69.4% of manually determined trajectories and 62.2% of CAP-generated trajectories feasible; 19.4% of the CAP-generated electrode-placement plans were deemed feasible when the manually determined plans were not, whereas 26.5% of the manually determined electrode-placement plans were rated feasible when CAP-determined plans were not (no significant difference).

CONCLUSIONS

CAP generates clinically feasible electrode-placement plans and results in statistically improved safety metrics. CAP is a useful tool for automating the placement of electrodes for SEEG; however, it requires the operating surgeon to review the results before implantation, because only 62% of electrode-placement plans were rated feasible, compared with 69% of the manually determined placement plans, mainly because of proximity of the electrodes to unsegmented vasculature. Improved vascular segmentation and sulcal modeling could lead to further improvements in the feasibility of CAP-generated trajectories.

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Vejay N. Vakharia, Rachel Sparks, Roman Rodionov, Sjoerd B. Vos, Christian Dorfer, Jonathan Miller, Daniel Nilsson, Martin Tisdall, Stefan Wolfsberger, Andrew W. McEvoy, Anna Miserocchi, Gavin P. Winston, Aidan G. O’Keeffe, Sebastien Ourselin and John S. Duncan

OBJECTIVE

One-third of cases of focal epilepsy are drug refractory, and surgery might provide a cure. Seizure-free outcome after surgery depends on the correct identification and resection of the epileptogenic zone. In patients with no visible abnormality on MRI, or in cases in which presurgical evaluation yields discordant data, invasive stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) recordings might be necessary. SEEG is a procedure in which multiple electrodes are placed stereotactically in key targets within the brain to record interictal and ictal electrophysiological activity. Correlating this activity with seizure semiology enables identification of the seizure-onset zone and key structures within the ictal network. The main risk related to electrode placement is hemorrhage, which occurs in 1% of patients who undergo the procedure. Planning safe electrode placement for SEEG requires meticulous adherence to the following: 1) maximize the distance from cerebral vasculature, 2) avoid crossing sulcal pial boundaries (sulci), 3) maximize gray matter sampling, 4) minimize electrode length, 5) drill at an angle orthogonal to the skull, and 6) avoid critical neurological structures. The authors provide a validation of surgical strategizing and planning with EpiNav, a multimodal platform that enables automated computer-assisted planning (CAP) for electrode placement with user-defined regions of interest.

METHODS

Thirteen consecutive patients who underwent implantation of a total 116 electrodes over a 15-month period were studied retrospectively. Models of the cortex, gray matter, and sulci were generated from patient-specific whole-brain parcellation, and vascular segmentation was performed on the basis of preoperative MR venography. Then, the multidisciplinary implantation strategy and precise trajectory planning were reconstructed using CAP and compared with the implemented manually determined plans. Paired results for safety metric comparisons were available for 104 electrodes. External validity of the suitability and safety of electrode entry points, trajectories, and target-point feasibility was sought from 5 independent, blinded experts from outside institutions.

RESULTS

CAP-generated electrode trajectories resulted in a statistically significant improvement in electrode length, drilling angle, gray matter–sampling ratio, minimum distance from segmented vasculature, and risk (p < 0.05). The blinded external raters had various opinions of trajectory feasibility that were not statistically significant, and they considered a mean of 69.4% of manually determined trajectories and 62.2% of CAP-generated trajectories feasible; 19.4% of the CAP-generated electrode-placement plans were deemed feasible when the manually determined plans were not, whereas 26.5% of the manually determined electrode-placement plans were rated feasible when CAP-determined plans were not (no significant difference).

CONCLUSIONS

CAP generates clinically feasible electrode-placement plans and results in statistically improved safety metrics. CAP is a useful tool for automating the placement of electrodes for SEEG; however, it requires the operating surgeon to review the results before implantation, because only 62% of electrode-placement plans were rated feasible, compared with 69% of the manually determined placement plans, mainly because of proximity of the electrodes to unsegmented vasculature. Improved vascular segmentation and sulcal modeling could lead to further improvements in the feasibility of CAP-generated trajectories.