Intraoperative cortical and subcortical mapping techniques have become integral for achieving a maximal safe resection of tumors that are in or near regions of eloquent brain. The recent literature has demonstrated successful motor/language mapping with lower rates of stimulation-induced seizures when using monopolar high-frequency stimulation compared to traditional low-frequency bipolar stimulation mapping. However, monopolar stimulation carries with it disadvantages that include more radiant spread of electrical stimulation and a theoretically higher potential for tissue damage. The authors report on the successful use of bipolar stimulation with a high-frequency train-of-five (TOF) pulse physiology for motor mapping.
Between 2018 and 2019, 13 patients underwent motor mapping with phase-reversal and both low-frequency and high-frequency bipolar stimulation. A retrospective chart review was conducted to determine the success rate of motor mapping and to acquire intraoperative details.
Thirteen patients underwent both high- and low-frequency bipolar motor mapping to aid in tumor resection. Of the lesions treated, 69% were gliomas, and the remainder were metastases. The motor cortex was identified at a significantly greater rate when using high-frequency TOF bipolar stimulation (n = 13) compared to the low-frequency bipolar stimulation (n = 4) (100% vs 31%, respectively; p = 0.0005). Intraoperative seizures and afterdischarges occurred only in the group of patients who underwent low-frequency bipolar stimulation, and none occurred in the TOF group (31% vs 0%, respectively; p = 0.09).
Using a bipolar wand with high-frequency TOF stimulation, the authors achieved a significantly higher rate of successful motor mapping and a low rate of intraoperative seizure compared to traditional low-frequency bipolar stimulation. This preliminary study suggests that high-frequency TOF stimulation provides a reliable additional tool for motor cortex identification in asleep patients.