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Tizian Rosenstock, Thomas Picht, Heike Schneider, Peter Vajkoczy and Ulrich-Wilhelm Thomale

OBJECTIVE

In adults, navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (nTMS) has been established as a preoperative examination method for brain tumors in motor- and language-eloquent locations. However, the clinical relevance of nTMS in children with brain tumors is still unclear. Here, the authors present their initial experience with nTMS-based surgical planning and family counseling in pediatric cases.

METHODS

The authors analyzed the feasibility of nTMS and its influence on counseling and surgical strategy in a prospective study conducted between July 2017 and September 2019. The main inclusion criterion was a potential benefit from functional mapping data derived from nTMS and/or nTMS-enhanced tractography in pediatric patients who presented to the authors’ department prior to surgery for lesions close to motor- and/or speech-eloquent areas. The study was undertaken in 14 patients (median age 7 years, 8 males) who presented with different brain lesions.

RESULTS

Motor mapping combined with cortical seed area definition could be performed in 10 children (71%) to identify the corticospinal tract by additional diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). All motor mappings could be performed successfully without inducing relevant side effects. In 7 children, nTMS language mapping was performed to detect language-relevant cortical areas and DTI fiber tractography was performed to visualize the individual language network. nTMS examination was not possible in 4 children because of lack of compliance (n = 2), syncope (n = 1), and preexisting implant (n = 1). After successful mapping, the spatial relation between lesion and functional tissue was used for surgical planning in all 10 patients, and 9 children underwent nTMS-DTI integrated neuronavigation. No surgical complications or unexpected neurological deterioration was observed. In all successful nTMS cases, better function-based counseling was offered to the families. In 6 of 10 patients the surgical strategy was adapted according to nTMS data, and in 6 of 10 cases the extent of resection (EOR) was redefined.

CONCLUSIONS

nTMS and DTI fiber tracking were feasible for the majority of children. Presurgical counseling as well as surgical planning for the approach and EOR were improved by the nTMS examination results. nTMS in combination with DTI fiber tracking can be regarded as beneficial for neurosurgical procedures in eloquent areas in the pediatric population.

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Ina Bährend, Max R. Muench, Heike Schneider, Rabih Moshourab, Felix R. Dreyer, Peter Vajkoczy, Thomas Picht and Katharina Faust

OBJECTIVE

Given the interindividual variance of functional language anatomy, risk prediction based merely on anatomical data is insufficient in language area–related brain tumor surgery, suggesting the need for direct cortical and subcortical mapping during awake surgery. Reliable, noninvasive preoperative methods of language localization hold the potential for reducing the necessity for awake procedures and may improve patient counseling and surgical planning. Repetitive navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (rnTMS) is an evolving tool for localizing language-eloquent areas. The aim of this study was to investigate the reliability of rnTMS in locating cortical language sites.

METHODS

Twenty-five patients with brain tumors in speech-related areas were prospectively evaluated with preoperative rnTMS (5 Hz, train of five, average 105% resting motor threshold) and navigated direct cortical stimulation (DCS; bipolar, 50 Hz, 6–8 mA, 200-μsec pulse width) during awake surgeries employing a picture-naming task. Positive and negative stimulation spots within the craniotomy were documented in the same MRI data set. TMS and DCS language-positive areas were compared with regard to their spatial overlap, their allocation in a cortical parcellation system, and their linguistic qualities.

RESULTS

There were over twofold more positive language spots within the exposed area on rnTMS than on DCS. The comparison of positive rnTMS and DCS (ground truth) overlaps revealed low sensitivity (35%) and low positive predictive value (16%) but high specificity (90%) and high negative predictive value (96%). Within the overlaps, there was no correlation in error quality. On DCS, 73% of language-positive spots were located in the pars opercularis and pars triangularis of the frontal operculum and 24% within the supramarginal gyrus and dorsal portion of the superior temporal gyrus, while on rnTMS language positivity was distributed more evenly over a large number of gyri.

CONCLUSIONS

The current protocol for rnTMS for language mapping identified language-negative sites with good dependability but was unable to reliably detect language-positive spots. Further refinements of the technique will be needed to establish rnTMS language mapping as a useful clinical tool.