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Evangelia Liouta, Christos Koutsarnakis, Faidon Liakos, and George Stranjalis

OBJECT

Current recommendations stress the need for cognitive parameters to be integrated in the evaluation of outcomes for intracranial meningioma surgery. The aim of this prospective study was to examine neurocognitive function in meningioma patients pre- and postoperatively.

METHODS

Patients with skull base (anterior and middle fossa) and convexity (anterior and posterior) meningiomas (n = 54) underwent neuropsychological examination prior to and 1 year after surgery. A control group (n = 52) of healthy volunteers matched for age, sex, and education underwent the same examination. Assessments included executive, memory, and motor functions with standardized testing. Patients with convexity meningiomas were clinically assessed for parietal association cortex functions.

RESULTS

All patients performed significantly worse (p < 0.05) in most neurocognitive domains than controls. The skull base group showed more disturbances in memory than the convexity group (p < 0.05). The anterior convexity group showed more deficits in executive function than the posterior convexity group, which presented with parietal association cortex deficits. Verbal deficits were more pronounced in the left hemisphere than in the right hemisphere. Patients with a large tumor (> 4 cm) had more severe neurocognitive deficits than those with a small tumor (< 4 cm). Postoperatively, patients showed no deterioration in neurocognitive function. Instead, significant improvement (p < 0.05) was observed in some executive, motor, and parietal association cortex functions.

CONCLUSIONS

According to the authors’ findings, intracranial meningiomas may cause neurocognitive deficits in patients. Surgery does not cause a deterioration in cognitive function; instead, it may lead to improvements in some functions. Permanent neuropsychological postoperative deficits should be interpreted as tumor-induced rather than due to surgery.

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Christos Koutsarnakis, Faidon Liakos, Evangelia Liouta, Konstantinos Themistoklis, Damianos Sakas, and George Stranjalis

OBJECT

The cerebral isthmus is the white matter area located between the periinsular sulcus and the lateral ventricle. Studies demonstrating the fiber tract and topographic anatomy of this entity are lacking in current neurosurgical literature. Hence, the authors’ primary aim was to describe the microsurgical white matter anatomy of the cerebral isthmus by using the fiber dissection technique, and they discuss its functional significance. In addition, they sought to investigate its possible surgical utility in approaching lesions located in or adjacent to the lateral ventricle.

METHODS

This study was divided into 2 parts and included 30 formalin-fixed cerebral hemispheres, 5 of which were injected with colored silicone. In the first part, 15 uncolored specimens underwent the Klinger’s procedure and were dissected in a lateromedial direction at the level of the superior, inferior, and anterior isthmuses, and 10 were used for coronal and axial cuts. In the second part, the injected specimens were used to investigate the surgical significance of the superior isthmus in accessing the frontal horn of the lateral ventricle.

RESULTS

The microsurgical anatomy of the anterior, superior, and inferior cerebral isthmuses was carefully studied and recorded both in terms of topographic and fiber tract anatomy. In addition, the potential role of the proximal part of the superior isthmus as an alternative safe surgical corridor to the anterior part of the lateral ventricle was investigated.

CONCLUSIONS

Using the fiber dissection technique along with coronal and axial cuts in cadaveric brain specimens remains a cornerstone in the acquisition of thorough anatomical knowledge of narrow white matter areas such as the cerebral isthmus. The surgical significance of the superior isthmus in approaching the frontal horn of the lateral ventricle is stressed, but further studies must be carried out to elucidate its role in ventricular surgery.

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Evangelia Liouta, George Stranjalis, Aristotelis V. Kalyvas, Christos Koutsarnakis, Stavroula Pantinaki, Faidon Liakos, Spyros Komaitis, and Lampis C. Stavrinou

OBJECTIVE

Although the parietal lobe is a common site for glioma formation, current literature is scarce, consists of retrospective studies, and lacks consistency with regard to the incidence, nature, and severity of parietal association deficits (PADs). The aim of this study was to assess the characteristics and incidence of PADs in patients suffering from parietal lobe gliomas through a prospective study and a battery of comprehensive neuropsychological tests.

METHODS

Between 2012 and 2016 the authors recruited 38 patients with glioma confined in the parietal lobe. Patients were examined for primary and secondary association deficits with a dedicated battery of neuropsychological tests. The PADs were grouped into 5 categories: visuospatial attention, gnosis, praxis, upper-limb coordination, and language. For descriptive analysis tumors were divided into high- and low-grade gliomas and also according to patient age and tumor size.

RESULTS

Parietal association deficits were elicited in 80% of patients, thus being more common than primary deficits (50%). Apraxia was the most common PAD (47.4%), followed by anomic aphasia and subcomponents of Gerstmann’s syndrome (34.2% each). Other deficits such as hemineglect, stereoagnosia, extinction, and visuomotor ataxia were also detected, albeit at lower rates. There was a statistically nonsignificant difference between PADs and sex (72.2% males, 85% females) and age (77.8% at ≤ 60 years, 80% at age > 60 years), but a statistically significant difference between the > 4 cm and the ≤ 4 cm diameter group (p = 0.02, 94.7% vs 63.2%, respectively). There was a tendency (p = 0.094) for low-grade gliomas to present with fewer PADs (50%) than high-grade gliomas (85.7%). Tumor laterality showed a strong correlation with hemineglect (p = 0.004, predilection for right hemisphere), anomia (p = 0.001), and Gerstmann’s symptoms (p = 0.01); the last 2 deficits showed a left (dominant) hemispheric preponderance.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the first study to prospectively evaluate the incidence and nature of PADs in patients with parietal gliomas. It could be that the current literature may have underestimated the true incidence of deficits. Dedicated neuropsychological examination detects a high frequency of PADs, the most common being apraxia, followed by anomia and subcomponents of Gerstmann’s syndrome. Nevertheless, a direct correlation between the clinical deficit and its anatomical substrate is only possible to a limited extent, highlighting the need for intraoperative cortical and subcortical functional mapping.

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Spyridon Komaitis, Aristotelis V. Kalyvas, Georgios P. Skandalakis, Evangelos Drosos, Evgenia Lani, Evangelia Liouta, Faidon Liakos, Theodosis Kalamatianos, Maria Piagkou, John A. Emelifeonwu, George Stranjalis, and Christos Koutsarnakis

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to investigate the morphology, connectivity, and correlative anatomy of the longitudinal group of fibers residing in the frontal area, which resemble the anterior extension of the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF) and were previously described as the frontal longitudinal system (FLS).

METHODS

Fifteen normal adult formalin-fixed cerebral hemispheres collected from cadavers were studied using the Klingler microdissection technique. Lateral to medial dissections were performed in a stepwise fashion starting from the frontal area and extending to the temporoparietal regions.

RESULTS

The FLS was consistently identified as a fiber pathway residing just under the superficial U-fibers of the middle frontal gyrus or middle frontal sulcus (when present) and extending as far as the frontal pole. The authors were able to record two different configurations: one consisting of two distinct, parallel, longitudinal fiber chains (13% of cases), and the other consisting of a single stem of fibers (87% of cases). The fiber chains’ cortical terminations in the frontal and prefrontal area were also traced. More specifically, the FLS was always recorded to terminate in Brodmann areas 6, 46, 45, and 10 (premotor cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, pars triangularis, and frontal pole, respectively), whereas terminations in Brodmann areas 4 (primary motor cortex), 47 (pars orbitalis), and 9 were also encountered in some specimens. In relation to the SLF system, the FLS represented its anterior continuation in the majority of the hemispheres, whereas in a few cases it was recorded as a completely distinct tract. Interestingly, the FLS comprised shorter fibers that were recorded to interconnect exclusively frontal areas, thus exhibiting different fiber architecture when compared to the long fibers forming the SLF.

CONCLUSIONS

The current study provides consistent, focused, and robust evidence on the morphology, architecture, and correlative anatomy of the FLS. This fiber system participates in the axonal connectivity of the prefrontal-premotor cortices and allegedly subserves cognitive-motor functions. Based in the SLF hypersegmentation concept that has been advocated by previous authors, the FLS should be approached as a distinct frontal segment within the superior longitudinal system.

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Spyridon Komaitis, Christos Koutsarnakis, Evgenia Lani, Theodosis Kalamatianos, Evangelos Drosos, Georgios P. Skandalakis, Faidon Liakos, Evangelia Liouta, Aristotelis V. Kalyvas, and George Stranjalis

OBJECTIVE

The authors sought to investigate the very existence and map the topography, morphology, and axonal connectivity of a thus far ill-defined subcortical pathway known as the fronto-caudate tract (FCT) since there is a paucity of direct structural evidence regarding this pathway in the relevant literature.

METHODS

Twenty normal adult cadaveric formalin-fixed cerebral hemispheres (10 left and 10 right) were explored through the fiber microdissection technique. Lateral to medial and medial to lateral dissections were carried out in a tandem manner in all hemispheres. Attention was focused on the prefrontal area and central core since previous diffusion tensor imaging studies have recorded the tract to reside in this territory.

RESULTS

In all cases, the authors readily identified the FCT as a fan-shaped pathway lying in the most medial layer of the corona radiata and traveling across the subependymal plane before terminating on the superolateral margin of the head and anterior part of the body of the caudate nucleus. The FCT could be adequately differentiated from adjacent fiber tracts and was consistently recorded to terminate in Brodmann areas 8, 9, 10, and 11 (anterior pre–supplementary motor area and the dorsolateral, frontopolar, and fronto-orbital prefrontal cortices). The authors were also able to divide the tract into a ventral and a dorsal segment according to the respective topography and connectivity observed. Hemispheric asymmetries were not observed, but instead the authors disclosed asymmetry within the FCT, with the ventral segment always being thicker and bulkier than the dorsal one.

CONCLUSIONS

By using the fiber microdissection technique, the authors provide sound structural evidence on the topography, morphology, and connectional anatomy of the FCT as a distinct part of a wider frontostriatal circuitry. The findings are in line with the tract’s putative functional implications in high-order motor and behavioral processes and can potentially inform current surgical practice in the fields of neuro-oncology and functional neurosurgery.