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Guillaume Gras-Combe, Sylvie Moritz-Gasser, Guillaume Herbet and Hugues Duffau

Object

Preservation of the visual field in glioma surgery, especially avoidance of hemianopia, is crucial for patients' quality of life, particularly for driving. Recent studies used tractography or cortical occipital stimulation to try to avoid visual deficit. However, optic radiations have not been directly mapped intraoperatively. The authors present, for the first time to their knowledge, a consecutive series of awake surgeries for cerebral glioma with intrasurgical identification and preservation of visual pathways using subcortical electrical mapping.

Methods

Fourteen patients underwent awake resection of a glioma (1 WHO Grade I, 11 WHO Grade II, 2 WHO Grade III) involving the optic radiations. The patients had no presurgical visual field deficit. Intraoperatively, a picture-naming task was used, with presentation of 2 objects situated diagonally on a screen divided into 4 quadrants. An image was presented in the quadrant to be saved and another image was presented in the opposite quadrant. Direct subcortical electrostimulation was repeatedly performed without the patient's knowledge, until optic radiations were identified (transient visual disturbances). All patients underwent an objective visual field assessment 3 months after surgery.

Results

All patients experienced visual symptoms during stimulation. These disturbances led the authors to stop the tumor resection at that level. Postoperatively, only 1 patient had a permanent hemianopia, despite an expected quadrantanopia in 12 cases. The mean extent of resection was 93.6% (range 85%–100%).

Conclusions

Online identification of optic radiations by direct subcortical electrostimulation is a reliable and effective method to avoid permanent hemianopia in surgery for gliomas involving visual pathways.

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Jérôme Cochereau, Guillaume Herbet, Valérie Rigau and Hugues Duffau

WHO Grade II glioma (low-grade glioma [LGG]) is increasingly diagnosed as an incidental finding in patients undergoing MRI for many conditions. Recent data have demonstrated that such incidental LGGs are progressive tumors that undergo clinical transformation and ultimately become malignant. Although asymptomatic LGG seems to represent an earlier step in the natural course of a glioma than the symptomatic LGG, it is nonetheless impossible to predict at the individual level when the tumor will become malignant. The authors report the case of a 43-year-old woman with a right operculo-insular LGG that was incidentally diagnosed because of headaches. No treatment was proposed, and repeated MRI scans were performed for 6 years in another institution. Due to a slow but continuous growth of the lesion, the patient was finally referred to our center to undergo surgery. Interestingly, objective calculation of the velocity of the tumor’s diametric expansion demonstrated a sudden acceleration of the growth rate within the 5 months preceding surgery, with the development of contrast enhancement. Remarkably, the patient was still asymptomatic. An awake resection was performed with intraoperative electrical mapping. There was no functional worsening following surgery, as assessed on postoperative neuropsychological examination. Removal of 92% of signal abnormality on FLAIR MRI was achieved, with complete resection of the area of contrast enhancement. Neuropathological examination revealed a glioblastoma, and the patient was subsequently treated with concomitant radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Although a “wait and see” attitude has been advocated by some authors with respect to incidental LGG, our original case demonstrates that acute transformation to glioblastoma may nonetheless occur, even before the onset of any symptoms. Therefore, because the lack of symptoms does not protect from malignant transformation, we propose consideration of earlier resection in a more systematic manner in cases of incidental LGG.

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Aurore Sellier, Sylvie Moritz-Gasser, Anne-Laure Lemaitre, Guillaume Herbet and Hugues Duffau

OBJECTIVE

Intraoperative brain mapping with neurocognitive monitoring during awake surgery is currently the standard pattern of care for patients with diffuse low-grade glioma (DLGG), allowing a maximization of the extent of resection (EOR) while preserving quality of life. This study evaluated the feasibility of DLGG resections performed with intraoperative cognitive monitoring via the assistance of a translator for patients speaking foreign languages, and compared the surgical functional and oncological outcomes according to the possibility of direct communication with the surgical team.

METHODS

Foreign patients who underwent awake surgery with intraoperative electrical mapping with the assistance of a translator for the resection of a DLGG in the authors’ institution between January 2010 and December 2020 were included. Patients whose native language included one of the three languages spoken by the surgical team (i.e., French, English, or Spanish) were excluded. The patients were classified into two groups. Group 1 was composed of patients able to communicate in at least one of these three languages in addition to their own native language. Group 2 was composed of patients who spoke none of these languages, and therefore were unable to communicate directly with the operating staff. The primary outcome was the patients’ ability to return to work 3 months after surgery.

RESULTS

Eighty-four patients were included, of whom 63 were classified in group 1 and 21 in group 2. Eighteen different native languages were tested in the operating theater. Awake mapping was successful, with elicitation of transitory disturbances in all patients. There was no significant difference in the 3-month return-to-work status between the two groups (95% in group 1 [n = 58/61] vs 88% in group 2 [n = 15/17]; p = 0.298). Similarly, no significant difference between the two groups was found regarding the intraoperative tasks performed, the mean duration of the surgery, and the rate of permanent postoperative deficit. A significantly greater EOR was observed in group 1 patients in comparison to group 2 patients (90.4% ± 10.6% vs 87.7% ± 6.1%; p = 0.029).

CONCLUSIONS

Real-time translation by an interpreter during awake resection of glioma is feasible and safe in foreign patients. Nonetheless, when no direct verbal communication is possible between the surgical team and the patient, the EOR is less.

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Andrew Shaw and E. Antonio Chiocca

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Guillaume Herbet, Gilles Lafargue, Fabien Almairac, Sylvie Moritz-Gasser, François Bonnetblanc and Hugues Duffau

The authors report the first case of a strikingly unusual speech impairment evoked by intraoperative electrostimulation in a 36-year-old right-handed patient, a well-trained singer, who underwent awake surgery for a right fronto-temporo-insular low-grade glioma. Functionally disrupting the pars opercularis of the right inferior frontal gyrus led the patient to automatically switch from a speaking to a singing mode of language production. Given the central role of the right pars opercularis in the inhibitory control network, the authors propose that this finding may be interpreted as possible evidence for a competitive and independent neurocognitive subnetwork devoted to the melodically intoned articulation of words (normal language-based vs singing-based) in subjects with high expertise. From a more clinical perspective, such data may have implications for awake neurosurgery, especially to preserve the quality of life for singers.

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Matthieu Vassal, Céline Charroud, Jérémy Deverdun, Emmanuelle Le Bars, François Molino, Francois Bonnetblanc, Anthony Boyer, Anirban Dutta, Guillaume Herbet, Sylvie Moritz-Gasser, Alain Bonafé, Hugues Duffau and Nicolas Menjot de Champfleur

OBJECTIVE

The supplementary motor area (SMA) syndrome is a well-studied lesional model of brain plasticity involving the sensorimotor network. Patients with diffuse low-grade gliomas in the SMA may exhibit this syndrome after resective surgery. They experience a temporary loss of motor function, which completely resolves within 3 months. The authors used functional MRI (fMRI) resting state analysis of the sensorimotor network to investigate large-scale brain plasticity between the immediate postoperative period and 3 months' follow-up.

METHODS

Resting state fMRI was performed preoperatively, during the immediate postoperative period, and 3 months postoperatively in 6 patients with diffuse low-grade gliomas who underwent partial surgical excision of the SMA. Correlation analysis within the sensorimotor network was carried out on those 3 time points to study modifications of its functional connectivity.

RESULTS

The results showed a large-scale reorganization of the sensorimotor network. Interhemispheric connectivity was decreased in the postoperative period, and increased again during the recovery process. Connectivity between the lesion side motor area and the contralateral SMA rose to higher values than in the preoperative period. Intrahemispheric connectivity was decreased during the immediate postoperative period and had returned to preoperative values at 3 months after surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

These results confirm the findings reported in the existing literature on the plasticity of the SMA, showing large-scale modifications of the sensorimotor network, at both inter- and intrahemispheric levels. They suggest that interhemispheric connectivity might be a correlate of SMA syndrome recovery.