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Katharina Faust and Peter Vajkoczy


Visual field defects (VFDs) due to optic radiation (OR) injury are a common complication of temporal lobe surgery. The authors analyzed whether preoperative visualization of the optic tract would reduce this complication by influencing the surgeon’s decisions about surgical approaches. The authors also determined whether white matter shifts caused by temporal lobe tumors would follow predetermined patterns based on the tumor’s topography.


One hundred thirteen patients with intraaxial tumors of the temporal lobe underwent preoperative diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) fiber tracking. In 54 of those patients, both pre- and postoperative VFDs were documented using computerized perimetry. Brainlab’s iPlan 2.5 navigation software was used for tumor reconstruction and fiber visualization after the fusion of DTI studies with their respective magnetization-prepared rapid gradient-echo (MP-RAGE) images. The tracking algorithm was as follows: minimum fiber length 100 mm, fractional anisotropy threshold 0.1. The lateral geniculate body and the calcarine cortex were employed as tract seeding points. Shifts of the OR caused by tumor were visualized in comparison with the fiber tracking of the patient’s healthy hemisphere.


Temporal tumors produced a dislocation of the OR but no apparent fiber destruction. The shift of white matter tracts followed fixed patterns dependent on tumor location: Temporolateral tumors resulted in a medial fiber shift, and thus a lateral transcortical approach is recommended. Temporopolar tumors led to a posterior shift, always including Meyer’s loop; therefore, a pterional transcortical approach is recommended. Temporomesial tumors produced a lateral and superior shift; thus, a transsylvian-transcisternal approach will result in maximum sparing of the fibers. Temporocentric tumors also induced a lateral fiber shift. For those tumors, a transsylvian-transopercular approach is recommended. Tumors of the fusiform gyrus generated a superior (and lateral) shift; consequently, a subtemporal approach is recommended to avoid white matter injury. In applying the approaches recommended above, new or worsened VFDs occurred in 4% of the patient cohort. Total neurological and surgical morbidity were less than 10%. In 90% of patients, gross-total resection was accomplished.


Preoperative visualization of the OR may help in avoiding postoperative VFDs.

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Julius Dengler, Mario Cabraja, Katharina Faust, Thomas Picht, Theodoros Kombos and Peter Vajkoczy


Intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring (IONM) represents an established tool in neurosurgery to increase patient safety. Its application, however, is controversial. Its use has been described as helpful in avoiding neurological deterioration during intracranial aneurysm surgery. Its impact on extracranial-intracranial (EC-IC) bypass surgery involving parent artery occlusion for the treatment of complex aneurysms has not yet been studied. The authors therefore sought to evaluate the effects of IONM on patient safety, the surgeon's intraoperative strategies, and functional outcome of patients after cerebral bypass surgery. Intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring results were compared with those of intraoperative blood flow monitoring to assess bypass graft perfusion.


Compound motor action potentials (CMAPs) were generated using transcranial electrical stimulation in patients undergoing EC-IC bypass surgery. Preoperative and postoperative motor function was analyzed. To assess graft function, intraoperative flowmetry and indocyanine green fluorescence angiography were performed. Special care was taken to compare the relevance of electrophysiological and blood flow monitoring in the detection of critical intraoperative ischemic episodes.


The study included 31 patients with 31 aneurysms and 1 bilateral occlusion of the internal carotid arteries, undergoing 32 EC-IC bypass surgeries in which radial artery or saphenous vein grafts were used. In 11 cases, 15 CMAP events were observed, helping the surgeon to determine the source of deterioration and to react to it: 14 were reversible and only 1 showed no recovery. In all cases, blood flow monitoring showed good perfusion of the bypass grafts. There were no false-negative results in this series. New postoperative motor deficits were transient in 1 case, permanent in 1 case, and not present in all other cases.


Intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring is a helpful tool for continuous functional monitoring of patients undergoing large-caliber vessel EC-IC bypass surgery. The authors' results suggest that continuous neurophysiological monitoring during EC-IC bypass surgery has relevant advantages over flow-oriented monitoring techniques such as intraoperative flowmetry or indocyanine green–based angiography.

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


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.


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.


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.


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.