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Amey R. Savardekar, Devi P. Patra, Jai D. Thakur, Vinayak Narayan, Nasser Mohammed, Papireddy Bollam and Anil Nanda


Total tumor excision with the preservation of neurological function and quality of life is the goal of modern-day vestibular schwannoma (VS) surgery. Postoperative facial nerve (FN) paralysis is a devastating complication of VS surgery. Determining the course of the FN in relation to a VS preoperatively is invaluable to the neurosurgeon and is likely to enhance surgical safety with respect to FN function. Diffusion tensor imaging–fiber tracking (DTI-FT) technology is slowly gaining traction as a viable tool for preoperative FN visualization in patients with VS.


A systematic review of the literature in the PubMed, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science databases was performed in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, and those studies that preoperatively localized the FN in relation to a VS using the DTI-FT technique and verified those preoperative FN tracking results by using microscopic observation and electrophysiological monitoring during microsurgery were included. A pooled analysis of studies was performed to calculate the surgical concordance rate (accuracy) of DTI-FT technology for FN localization.


Fourteen studies included 234 VS patients (male/female ratio 1:1.4, age range 17–75 years) who had undergone preoperative DTI-FT for FN identification. The mean tumor size among the studies ranged from 29 to 41.3 mm. Preoperative DTI-FT could not visualize the FN tract in 8 patients (3.4%) and its findings could not be verified in 3 patients (1.2%), were verified but discordant in 18 patients (7.6%), and were verified and concordant in 205 patients (87.1%).


Preoperative DTI-FT for FN identification is a useful adjunct in the surgical planning for large VSs (> 2.5 cm). A pooled analysis showed that DTI-FT successfully identifies the complete FN course in 96.6% of VSs (226 of 234 cases) and that FN identification by DTI-FT is accurate in 90.6% of cases (205 of 226 cases). Larger studies with DTI-FT–integrated neuronavigation are required to look at the direct benefit offered by this specific technique in preserving postoperative FN function.

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Sebastian R. Schreglmann, Kailash P. Bhatia, Stefan Hägele-Link, Beat Werner, Ernst Martin and Georg Kägi

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Karl R. Abi-Aad, Devi P. Patra, Matthew E. Welz, Evelyn Turcotte and Bernard R. Bendok

Cavernomas at the posterolateral pontomesencephalic surface can be approached from a lateral infratentorial supracerebellar corridor. In this surgical video, we demonstrate two cases of brainstem cavernomas resected through a lateral supracerebellar infratentorial approach. A supine position with lateral turn of the head was used along with significant reverse Trendelenburg to allow the cerebellum to fall away with gravity from the tentorium. After exposure of the posterior surface of the brainstem between the tentorium and the superior cerebellar surface with aid of neuronavigation, the cavernomas were safely resected.

The video can be found here:

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Devi P. Patra, Ryan A. Hess, Karl R. Abi-Aad, Iryna M. Muzyka and Bernard R. Bendok

Roberts Bartholow, a physician, born and raised in Maryland, was a surgeon and Professor in Medicine who had previously served the Union during the Civil War. His interest in scientific research drove him to perform the first experiment that tested the excitability of the human brain cortex. His historical experiment on one of his patients, Mary Rafferty, with a cancerous ulcer on the skull, was one of his great accomplishments. His inference from this experiment and proposed scientific theory of cortical excitation and localization in humans was one of the most critically acclaimed topics in the medical community, which attracted the highest commendation for the unique discovery as well as criticism for possible ethical violations. Despite that criticism, his theory and methods of cortical localization are the cornerstone of modern brain mapping and have, in turn, led to countless medical innovations.