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Assaf Berger, Uri Hochberg, Alexander Zegerman, Rotem Tellem and Ido Strauss

OBJECTIVE

Cancer patients suffering from severe refractory pain may benefit from targeted ablative neurosurgical procedures aimed to disconnect pain pathways in the spinal cord or the brain. These patients often present with a plethora of medical problems requiring careful consideration before surgical interventions. The authors present their experience at an interdisciplinary clinic aimed to facilitate appropriate patient selection for neurosurgical procedures, and the outcome of these interventions.

METHODS

This study was a retrospective review of all patients who underwent neurosurgical interventions for cancer pain in the authors’ hospital between March 2015 and April 2018. All patients had advanced metastatic cancer with limited life expectancy and suffered from intractable oncological pain.

RESULTS

Sixty patients underwent surgery during the study period. Forty-three patients with localized pain underwent disconnection of the spinal pain pathways: 34 percutaneous-cervical and 5 open-thoracic cordotomies, 2 stereotactic mesencephalotomies, and 2 midline myelotomies. Thirty-nine of 42 patients (93%) who completed these procedures had excellent immediate postoperative pain relief. At 1 month the improvement was maintained in 30/36 patients (83%) available for follow-up. There was 1 case of hemiparesis.

Twenty patients with diffuse pain underwent stereotactic cingulotomy. Nineteen of these patients reported substantial pain relief immediately after the operation. At 1 month good pain relief was maintained in 13/17 patients (76%) available for follow-up, and good pain relief was also found at 3 months in 7/11 patients (64%). There was no major morbidity or mortality.

CONCLUSIONS

With careful patient selection and tailoring of the appropriate procedure to the patient’s pain syndrome, the authors’ experience indicates that neurosurgical procedures are safe and effective in alleviating suffering in patients with intractable cancer pain.

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Assaf Berger, Noa Cohen, Firas Fahoum, Mordekhay Medvedovsky, Aaron Meller, Dana Ekstein, Mony Benifla, Orna Aizenstein, Itzhak Fried, Tomer Gazit and Ido Strauss

OBJECTIVE

Preoperative localization of seizure onset zones (SOZs) is an evolving field in the treatment of refractory epilepsy. Both magnetic source imaging (MSI), and the more recent EEG-correlated functional MRI (EEG-fMRI), have shown applicability in assisting surgical planning. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the capability of each method and their combination in localizing the seizure onset lobe (SL).

METHODS

The study included 14 patients who underwent both MSI and EEG-fMRI before undergoing implantation of intracranial EEG (icEEG) as part of the presurgical planning of the resection of an epileptogenic zone (EZ) during the years 2012–2018. The estimated location of the SL by each method was compared with the location determined by icEEG. Identification rates of the SL were compared between the different methods.

RESULTS

MSI and EEG-fMRI showed similar identification rates of SL locations in relation to icEEG results (88% ± 31% and 73% ± 42%, respectively; p = 0.281). The additive use of the coverage lobes of both methods correctly identified 100% of the SL, significantly higher than EEG-fMRI alone (p = 0.039) and nonsignificantly higher than MSI (p = 0.180). False-identification rates of the additive coverage lobes were significantly higher than MSI (p = 0.026) and EEG-fMRI (p = 0.027). The intersecting lobes of both methods showed the lowest false identification rate (13% ± 6%, p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Both MSI and EEG-fMRI can assist in the presurgical evaluation of patients with refractory epilepsy. The additive use of both tests confers a high identification rate in finding the SL. This combination can help in focusing implantation of icEEG electrodes targeting the SOZ.