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Florian Grimm, Georgios Naros, Angelika Gutenberg, Naureen Keric, Alf Giese, and Alireza Gharabaghi

OBJECT

Frame-based stereotactic interventions are considered the gold standard for brain biopsies, but they have limitations with regard to flexibility and patient comfort because of the bulky head ring attached to the patient. Frameless image guidance systems that use scalp fiducial markers offer more flexibility and patient comfort but provide less stability and accuracy during drilling and biopsy needle positioning. Head-mounted robot-guided biopsies could provide the advantages of these 2 techniques without the downsides. The goal of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and safety of a robotic guidance device, affixed to the patient’s skull through a small mounting platform, for use in brain biopsy procedures.

METHODS

This was a retrospective study of 37 consecutive patients who presented with supratentorial lesions and underwent brain biopsy procedures in which a surgical guidance robot was used to determine clinical outcomes and technical procedural operability.

RESULTS

The portable head-mounted device was well tolerated by the patients and enabled stable drilling and needle positioning during surgery. Flexible adjustments of predefined paths and selection of new trajectories were successfully performed intraoperatively without the need for manual settings and fixations. The patients experienced no permanent deficits or infections after surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

The head-mounted robot-guided approach presented here combines the stability of a bone-mounted set-up with the flexibility and tolerability of frameless systems. By reducing human interference (i.e., manual parameter settings, calibrations, and adjustments), this technology might be particularly useful in neurosurgical interventions that necessitate multiple trajectories.

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Paolo Belardinelli, Ramin Azodi-Avval, Erick Ortiz, Georgios Naros, Florian Grimm, Daniel Weiss, and Alireza Gharabaghi

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) is an effective treatment for symptomatic Parkinson’s disease (PD); the clinical benefit may not only mirror modulation of local STN activity but also reflect consecutive network effects on cortical oscillatory activity. Moreover, STN-DBS selectively suppresses spatially and spectrally distinct patterns of synchronous oscillatory activity within cortical-subcortical loops. These STN-cortical circuits have been described in PD patients using magnetoencephalography after surgery. This network information, however, is currently not available during surgery to inform the implantation strategy.

The authors recorded spontaneous brain activity in 3 awake patients with PD (mean age 67 ± 14 years; mean disease duration 13 ± 7 years) during implantation of DBS electrodes into the STN after overnight withdrawal of dopaminergic medication. Intraoperative propofol was discontinued at least 30 minutes prior to the electrophysiological recordings. The authors used a novel approach for performing simultaneous recordings of STN local field potentials (LFPs) and multichannel electroencephalography (EEG) at rest. Coherent oscillations between LFP and EEG sensors were computed, and subsequent dynamic imaging of coherent sources was performed.

The authors identified coherent activity in the upper beta range (21–35 Hz) between the STN and the ipsilateral mesial (pre)motor area. Coherence in the theta range (4–6 Hz) was detected in the ipsilateral prefrontal area.

These findings demonstrate the feasibility of detecting frequency-specific and spatially distinct synchronization between the STN and cortex during DBS surgery. Mapping the STN with this technique may disentangle different functional loops relevant for refined targeting during DBS implantation.

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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.