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.
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.
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.
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.