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Santiago Candela-Cantó, Jordi Muchart, Alia Ramírez-Camacho, Victoria Becerra, Mariana Alamar, Anna Pascual, Carolina Forero, Mónica Rebollo Polo, Josep Munuera, Javier Aparicio, Jordi Rumià, and José Hinojosa

OBJECTIVE

Real-time, MRI-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy (MRgLITT) has been reported as a safe and effective technique for the treatment of epileptogenic foci in children and adults. After the recent approval of MRgLITT by the European Medicines Agency in April 2018, the authors began to use it for the treatment of hypothalamic hamartomas (HHs) in pediatric patients with the assistance of a robotic arm. In this study, the authors report their initial experience describing the surgical technique, accuracy of the robotic arm, safety, and efficacy.

METHODS

The laser fiber was placed with the assistance of the stereotactic robotic arm. The accuracy of the robotic arm for this procedure was calculated by comparing the intraoperative MRI to the preoperative plan. Common demographic and seizure characteristics of the patients, laser ablation details, complications, and short-term seizure outcomes were prospectively collected.

RESULTS

Sixteen procedures (11 first ablations and 5 reablations) were performed in 11 patients between 15 months and 17 years of age (mean age 6.4 years) with drug-resistant epilepsy related to HHs. The mean target point localization error was 1.69 mm. No laser fiber needed to be repositioned. The mean laser power used per procedure was 4.29 W. The trajectory of the laser fiber was accidentally ablated in 2 patients, provoking transient hemiparesis in one of these patients. One patient experienced postoperative somnolence and syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion, and 2 patients had transient oculomotor (cranial nerve III) palsy. Fifty-four percent of the patients were seizure free after the first ablation (mean follow-up 22 months, range 15–33 months). All 5 patients who experienced an epilepsy relapse underwent a second treatment, and 4 remain seizure free at least 5 months after reablation.

CONCLUSIONS

In the authors’ experience, the robotic arm was sufficiently accurate for laser fiber insertion, even in very young patients. MRgLITT appears to be an effective treatment for selected cases of HH. MRgLITT for HH is a minimally invasive procedure with appealing safety features, as it allows delivery of energy precisely under real-time MRI control. Nonetheless, complications may occur, especially in voluminous HHs. The amount of delivered energy and the catheter cooling system must be closely monitored during the procedure. A larger sample size and longer follow-up duration are needed to judge the efficacy and safety of MRgLITT for HH more rigorously. This initial experience was very promising.

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Santiago Candela, María Isabel Vanegas, Alejandra Darling, Juan Darío Ortigoza-Escobar, Mariana Alamar, Jordi Muchart, Alejandra Climent, Enrique Ferrer, Jordi Rumià, and Belén Pérez-Dueñas

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to verify the safety and accuracy of the Neuromate stereotactic robot for use in deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrode implantation for the treatment of hyperkinetic movement disorders in childhood and describe the authors’ initial clinical results.

METHODS

A prospective evaluation of pediatric patients with dystonia and other hyperkinetic movement disorders was carried out during the 1st year after the start-up of a pediatric DBS unit in Barcelona. Electrodes were implanted bilaterally in the globus pallidus internus (GPi) using the Neuromate robot without the stereotactic frame. The authors calculated the distances between the electrodes and their respective planned trajectories, merging the postoperative CT with the preoperative plan using VoXim software. Clinical outcome was monitored using validated scales for dystonia and myoclonus preoperatively and at 1 month and 6 months postoperatively and by means of a quality-of-life questionnaire for children, administered before surgery and at 6 months’ follow-up. We also recorded complications derived from the implantation technique, “hardware,” and stimulation.

RESULTS

Six patients aged 7 to 16 years and diagnosed with isolated dystonia (DYT1 negative) (3 patients), choreo-dystonia related to PDE2A mutation (1 patient), or myoclonus-dystonia syndrome SGCE mutations (2 patients) were evaluated during a period of 6 to 19 months. The average accuracy in the placement of the electrodes was 1.24 mm at the target point. At the 6-month follow-up, patients showed an improvement in the motor (65%) and functional (48%) components of the Burke-Fahn-Marsden Dystonia Rating Scale. Patients with myoclonus and SGCE mutations also showed an improvement in action myoclonus (95%–100%) and in functional tests (50%–75%) according to the Unified Motor-Rating Scale. The Neuro-QOL score revealed inconsistent results, with improvement in motor function and social relationships but worsening in anxiety, cognitive function, and pain. The only surgical complication was medial displacement of the first electrode, which limited intensity of stimulation in the lower contacts, in one case.

CONCLUSIONS

The Neuromate stereotactic robot is an accurate and safe tool for the placement of GPi electrodes in children with hyperkinetic movement disorders.