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Sarasa Tohyama, Peter Shih-Ping Hung, Jidan Zhong, and Mojgan Hodaie

OBJECTIVE

Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) is an important treatment modality for trigeminal neuralgia (TN). Current longitudinal assessment after GKRS relies primarily on clinical diagnostic measures, which are highly limited in the prediction of long-term clinical benefit. An objective, noninvasive, predictive tool would be of great utility to advance the clinical management of patients. Using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), the authors’ aim was to determine whether early (6 months post-GKRS) target diffusivity metrics can be used to prognosticate long-term pain relief in patients with TN.

METHODS

Thirty-seven patients with TN treated with GKRS underwent 3T MRI scans at 6 months posttreatment. Diffusivity metrics of fractional anisotropy, axial diffusivity, radial diffusivity, and mean diffusivity were extracted bilaterally from the radiosurgical target of the affected trigeminal nerve and its contralateral, unaffected nerve. Early (6 months post-GKRS) diffusivity metrics were compared with long-term clinical outcome. Patients were identified as long-term responders if they achieved at least 75% reduction in preoperative pain for 12 months or longer following GKRS.

RESULTS

Trigeminal nerve diffusivity at 6 months post-GKRS was predictive of long-term clinical effectiveness, where long-term responders (n = 19) showed significantly lower fractional anisotropy at the radiosurgical target of their affected nerve compared to their contralateral, unaffected nerve and to nonresponders. Radial diffusivity and mean diffusivity, correlates of myelin alterations and inflammation, were also significantly higher in the affected nerve of long-term responders compared to their unaffected nerve. Nonresponders (n = 18) did not exhibit any characteristic diffusivity changes after GKRS.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors demonstrate that early postsurgical target diffusivity metrics have a translational, clinical value and permit prediction of long-term pain relief in patients with TN treated with GKRS. Importantly, an association was found between the footprint of radiation and clinical effectiveness, where a sufficient level of microstructural change at the radiosurgical target is necessary for long-lasting pain relief. DTI can provide prognostic information that supplements clinical measures, and thus may better guide the postoperative assessment and clinical decision-making for patients with TN.

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Manish Ranjan, Gavin J. B. Elias, Alexandre Boutet, Jidan Zhong, Powell Chu, Jurgen Germann, Gabriel A. Devenyi, M. Mallar Chakravarty, Alfonso Fasano, Kullervo Hynynen, Nir Lipsman, Clement Hamani, Walter Kucharczyk, Michael L. Schwartz, Andres M. Lozano, and Mojgan Hodaie

OBJECTIVE

Tractography-based targeting of the thalamic ventral intermediate nucleus (T-VIM) is a novel method conferring patient-specific selection of VIM coordinates for tremor surgery; however, its accuracy and clinical utility in magnetic resonance imaging–guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) thalamotomy compared to conventional indirect targeting has not been specifically addressed. This retrospective study sought to compare the treatment locations and potential adverse effect profiles of T-VIM with indirect targeting in a large cohort of MRgFUS thalamotomy patients.

METHODS

T-VIM was performed using diffusion tractography outlining the pyramidal and medial lemniscus tracts in 43 MRgFUS thalamotomy patients. T-VIM coordinates were compared with the indirect treatment coordinates used in the procedure. Thalamotomy lesions were delineated on postoperative T1-weighted images and displaced (“translated”) by the anteroposterior and mediolateral difference between T-VIM and treatment coordinates. Both translated and actual lesions were normalized to standard space and subsequently overlaid with areas previously reported to be associated with an increased risk of motor and sensory adverse effects when lesioned during MRgFUS thalamotomy.

RESULTS

T-VIM coordinates were 2.18 mm anterior and 1.82 mm medial to the “final” indirect treatment coordinates. Translated lesions lay more squarely within the boundaries of the VIM compared to nontranslated lesions and showed significantly less overlap with areas associated with sensory adverse effects. Translated lesions overlapped less with areas associated with motor adverse effects; however, this difference was not significant.

CONCLUSIONS

T-VIM leads to the selection of more anterior and medial coordinates than the conventional indirect methods. Lesions moved toward these anteromedial coordinates avoid areas associated with an increased risk of motor and sensory adverse effects, suggesting that T-VIM may improve clinical outcomes.