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Marco Riva, Enrica Fava, Marcello Gallucci, Alessandro Comi, Alessandra Casarotti, Tommaso Alfiero, Fabio A. Raneri, Federico Pessina, and Lorenzo Bello

OBJECT

Intraoperative language mapping is traditionally performed with low-frequency bipolar stimulation (LFBS). High-frequency train-of-five stimulation delivered by a monopolar probe (HFMS) is an alternative technique for motor mapping, with a lower reported seizure incidence. The application of HFMS in language mapping is still limited. Authors of this study assessed the efficacy and safety of HFMS for language mapping during awake surgery, exploring its clinical impact compared with that of LFBS.

METHODS

Fifty-nine patients underwent awake surgery with neuropsychological testing, and LFBS and HFMS were compared. Frequency, type, and site of evoked interference were recorded. Language was scored preoperatively and 1 week and 3 months after surgery. Extent of resection was calculated as well.

RESULTS

High-frequency monopolar stimulation induced a language disturbance when the repetition rate was set at 3 Hz. Interference with counting (p = 0.17) and naming (p = 0.228) did not vary between HFMS and LFBS. These results held true when preoperative tumor volume, lesion site, histology, and recurrent surgery were considered.

Intraoperative responses (1603) in all patients were compared. The error rate for both modalities differed from baseline values (p < 0.001) but not with one another (p = 0.06). Low-frequency bipolar stimulation sensitivity (0.458) and precision (0.665) were slightly higher than the HFMS counterparts (0.367 and 0.582, respectively). The error rate across the 3 types of language errors (articulatory, anomia, paraphasia) did not differ between the 2 stimulation methods (p = 0.279).

CONCLUSIONS

With proper setting adjustments, HFMS is a safe and effective technique for language mapping.

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Andrea Szelényi, Lorenzo Bello, Hugues Duffau, Enrica Fava, Guenther C. Feigl, Miroslav Galanda, Georg Neuloh, Francesco Signorelli, and Francesco Sala

There is increasing evidence that the extent of tumor removal in low-grade glioma surgery is related to patient survival time. Thus, the goal of resecting the largest amount of tumor possible without leading to permanent neurological sequelae is a challenge for the neurosurgeon. Electrical stimulation of the brain to detect cortical and axonal areas involved in motor, language, and cognitive function and located within the tumor or along its boundaries has become an essential tool in combination with awake craniotomy. Based on a literature review, discussions within the European Low-Grade Glioma Group, and illustrative clinical experience, the authors of this paper provide an overview for neurosurgeons, neurophysiologists, linguists, and anesthesiologists as well as those new to the field about the stimulation techniques currently being used for mapping sensorimotor, language, and cognitive function in awake surgery for low-grade glioma. The paper is intended to help the understanding of these techniques and facilitate a comparison of results between users.

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Giulio Bertani, Enrica Fava, Giuseppe Casaceli, Giorgio Carrabba, Alessandra Casarotti, Costanza Papagno, Antonella Castellano, Andrea Falini, Sergio M. Gaini, and Lorenzo Bello

Low-grade gliomas ([LGGs] WHO Grade II) are slow-growing intrinsic cerebral lesions that diffusely infiltrate the brain parenchyma along white matter tracts and almost invariably show a progression toward malignancy. The treatment of these tumors forces the neurosurgeon to face uncommon difficulties and is still a subject of debate. At the authors' institution, resection is the first option in the treatment of LGGs. It requires the combined efforts of a multidisciplinary team of neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists, neuropsychologists, and neurophysiologists, who together contribute to the definition of the location, extension, and extent of functional involvement that a specific lesion has caused in a particular patient. In fact, each tumor induces specific modifications of the brain functional network, with high interindividual variability. This requires that each treatment plan is tailored to the characteristics of the tumor and of the patient. Consequently, surgery is performed according to functional and anatomical boundaries to achieve the maximal resection with maximal functional preservation. The identification of eloquent cerebral areas, which are involved in motor, language, memory, and visuospatial functions and have to be preserved during surgery, is performed through the intraoperative use of brain mapping techniques. The use of these techniques extends surgical indications and improves the extent of resection, while minimizing the postoperative morbidity and safeguarding the patient's quality of life.

In this paper the authors present their paradigm for the surgical treatment of LGGs, focusing on the intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring protocol as well as on the brain mapping technique. They briefly discuss the results that have been obtained at their institution since 2005 as well as the main critical points they have encountered when using this approach.

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Marco Rossi, Luca Fornia, Guglielmo Puglisi, Antonella Leonetti, Gianmarco Zuccon, Enrica Fava, Daniela Milani, Alessandra Casarotti, Marco Riva, Federico Pessina, Gabriella Cerri, and Lorenzo Bello

OBJECTIVE

Apraxia is a cognitive-motor deficit affecting the execution of skilled movements, termed praxis gestures, in the absence of primary sensory or motor disorders. In patients affected by stroke, apraxia is associated with lesions of the lateral parietofrontal stream, connecting the posterior parietal areas with the ventrolateral premotor area and subserving sensory-motor integration for the hand movements. In the neurosurgical literature to date, there are few reports regarding the incidence of apraxia after glioma surgery. A retrospective analysis of patients who harbored a glioma around the central sulcus and close to the parietofrontal circuits in depth showed a high incidence of long-term postoperative hand apraxia, impairing the patients’ quality of life. To avoid the occurrence of postoperative apraxia, the authors sought to develop an innovative intraoperative hand manipulation task (HMt) that can be used in association with the brain mapping technique to identify and preserve the cortical and subcortical structures belonging to the praxis network.

METHODS

The intraoperative efficacy of the HMt was investigated by comparing the incidence of postoperative ideomotor apraxia between patients undergoing mapping with (n = 79) and without (n = 41) the HMt. Patient groups were balanced for all demographic and clinical features.

RESULTS

In patients with lesions in the dominant hemisphere, the HMt dramatically reduced the incidence of apraxia, with a higher sensitivity for the ideomotor than for the constructional abilities; patients with lesions in the nondominant hemisphere benefitted from the HMt for both ideomotor and constructional abilities. The administration of the test did not reduce the extent of resection.

CONCLUSIONS

The HMt is a safe and feasible intraoperative tool that allowed surgeons to prevent the occurrence of long-term hand apraxia while attaining resection goals for the surgical treatment of glioma.

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Lorenzo Bello, Antonella Castellano, Enrica Fava, Giuseppe Casaceli, Marco Riva, Giuseppe Scotti, Sergio Maria Gaini, and Andrea Falini

Resection of lesions involving motor or language areas or pathways requires the intraoperative identification of functional cortical and subcortical sites for effectively and safe guidance. Diffusion tensor (DT) imaging and fiber tractography are MR imaging techniques based on the concept of anisotropic water diffusion in myelinated fibers, which enable 3D reconstruction and visualization of white matter tracts and provide information about the relationship of these tracts to the tumor mass. The authors routinely used DT imaging fiber tractography to reconstruct various tracts involved in the motor and/or language system in a large series of patients with lesions involving the motor and/or language areas or pathways. The DT imaging fiber tractography data were loaded into the neuronavigational system and combined intraoperatively with those obtained from direct electrical stimulation applied at the subcortical level. In this paper the authors report the results of their experience, describing the findings for each tract and discussing technical aspects of the combined use as well as the pitfalls.

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Marco Cenzato, Davide Colistra, Giorgia Iacopino, Christian Raftopoulos, Ulrich Sure, Marcos Tatagiba, Robert F. Spetzler, Alexander N. Konovalov, Andriy Smolanka, Volodymir Smolanka, Roberto Stefini, Carlo Bortolotti, Paolo Ferroli, Giampietro Pinna, Angelo Franzini, Philipp Dammann, Georgios Naros, Davide Boeris, Paolo Mantovani, Domenico Lizio, Mariangela Piano, and Enrica Fava

OBJECTIVE

In this paper, the authors aimed to illustrate how Holmes tremor (HT) can occur as a delayed complication after brainstem cavernoma resection despite strict adherence to the safe entry zones (SEZs).

METHODS

After operating on 2 patients with brainstem cavernoma at the Great Metropolitan Hospital Niguarda in Milan and noticing a similar pathological pattern postoperatively, the authors asked 10 different neurosurgery centers around the world to identify similar cases, and a total of 20 were gathered from among 1274 cases of brainstem cavernomas. They evaluated the tremor, cavernoma location, surgical approach, and SEZ for every case. For the 2 cases at their center, they also performed electromyographic and accelerometric recordings of the tremor and evaluated the post-operative tractographic representation of the neuronal pathways involved in the tremorigenesis. After gathering data on all 1274 brainstem cavernomas, they performed a statistical analysis to determine if the location of the cavernoma is a potential predicting factor for the onset of HT.

RESULTS

From the analysis of all 20 cases with HT, it emerged that this highly debilitating tremor can occur as a delayed complication in patients whose postoperative clinical course has been excellent and in whom surgical access has strictly adhered to the SEZs. Three of the patients were subsequently effectively treated with deep brain stimulation (DBS), which resulted in complete or almost complete tremor regression. From the statistical analysis of all 1274 brainstem cavernomas, it was determined that a cavernoma location in the midbrain was significantly associated with the onset of HT (p < 0.0005).

CONCLUSIONS

Despite strict adherence to SEZs, the use of intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring, and the immediate success of a resective surgery, HT, a severe neurological disorder, can occur as a delayed complication after resection of brainstem cavernomas. A cavernoma location in the midbrain is a significant predictive factor for the onset of HT. Further anatomical and neurophysiological studies will be necessary to find clues to prevent this complication.