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Vance T. Lehman, Kendall H. Lee, Bryan T. Klassen, Daniel J. Blezek, Abhinav Goyal, Bhavya R. Shah, Krzysztof R. Gorny, John Huston III, and Timothy J. Kaufmann

The thalamic ventral intermediate nucleus (VIM) can be targeted for treatment of tremor by several procedures, including deep brain stimulation (DBS) and, more recently, MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS). To date, such targeting has relied predominantly on coordinate-based or atlas-based techniques rather than directly targeting the VIM based on imaging features. While general regional differences of features within the thalamus and some related white matter tracts can be distinguished with conventional imaging techniques, internal nuclei such as the VIM are not discretely visualized. Advanced imaging methods such as quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) and fast gray matter acquisition T1 inversion recovery (FGATIR) MRI and high-field MRI pulse sequences that improve the ability to image the VIM region are emerging but have not yet been shown to have reliability and accuracy to serve as the primary method of VIM targeting. Currently, the most promising imaging approach to directly identify the VIM region for clinical purposes is MR diffusion tractography.

In this review and update, the capabilities and limitations of conventional and emerging advanced methods for evaluation of internal thalamic anatomy are briefly reviewed. The basic principles of tractography most relevant to VIM targeting are provided for familiarization. Next, the key literature to date addressing applications of DTI and tractography for DBS and MRgFUS is summarized, emphasizing use of direct targeting. This literature includes 1-tract (dentatorubrothalamic tract [DRT]), 2-tract (pyramidal and somatosensory), and 3-tract (DRT, pyramidal, and somatosensory) approaches to VIM region localization through tractography.

The authors introduce a 3-tract technique used at their institution, illustrating the oblique curved course of the DRT within the inferior thalamus as well as the orientation and relationship of the white matter tracts in the axial plane. The utility of this 3-tract tractography approach to facilitate VIM localization is illustrated with case examples of variable VIM location, targeting superior to the anterior commissure–posterior commissure plane, and treatment in the setting of pathologic derangement of thalamic anatomy. Finally, concepts demonstrated with these case examples and from the prior literature are synthesized to highlight several potential advantages of tractography for VIM region targeting.

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Anthony M. Burrows, W. Richard Marsh, Gregory Worrell, David A. Woodrum, Bruce E. Pollock, Krzysztof R. Gorny, Joel P. Felmlee, Robert E. Watson, Timothy J. Kaufmann, Steven Goerss, and Jamie J. Van Gompel

OBJECTIVE

Hypothalamic hamartomas (HHs) are associated with gelastic seizures and the development of medically refractory epilepsy. Magnetic resonance imaging–guided laser interstitial thermal therapy (MRg-LITT) is a minimally invasive ablative treatment that may have applicability for these deep-seated lesions. Here, the authors describe 3 patients with refractory HHs who they treated with MRg-LITT.

METHODS

An institutional review board–approved prospective database of patients undergoing Visualase MRg-LITT was retrospectively reviewed. Demographic and historical medical data, including seizure and medication histories, previous surgeries, procedural details, and surgical complications, along with radiological interpretation of the HHs, were recorded. The primary outcome was seizure freedom, and secondary outcomes included medication reduction, seizure frequency, operative morbidity, and clinical outcome at the latest follow-up.

RESULTS

All 3 patients in the multi-institutional database had developed gelastic seizures related to HH at the ages of 7, 7, and 9 years. They presented for further treatment at 25, 28, and 48 years of age, after previous treatments with stereotactic radiosurgery in all cases and partial hamartoma resection in one case. One ablation was complicated by a small tract hemorrhage, which was stable on postoperative imaging. One patient developed hyponatremia and experienced weight gain, which were respectively managed with fluid restriction and counseling. At the most recent follow-up at a mean of 21 months (range 1–32 months), one patient was seizure free while another had meaningful seizure reduction. Medication was reduced in one case.

CONCLUSIONS

Adults with gelastic seizures despite previous treatments can undergo MRg-LITT with reasonable safety and efficacy. This novel therapy may provide a minimally invasive alternative for primary and recurrent HH as the technique is refined.

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William S. Gibson, Aaron E. Rusheen, Yoonbae Oh, Myung-Ho In, Krzysztof R. Gorny, Joel P. Felmlee, Bryan T. Klassen, Sung Jun Jung, Hoon-Ki Min, Kendall H. Lee, and Hang Joon Jo

OBJECTIVE

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) is an established neurosurgical treatment for the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD). While often highly effective, DBS does not always yield optimal therapeutic outcomes, and stimulation-induced adverse effects, including paresthesia, muscle contractions, and nausea/lightheadedness, commonly occur and can limit the efficacy of stimulation. Currently, objective metrics do not exist for monitoring neural changes associated with stimulation-induced therapeutic and adverse effects.

METHODS

In the present study, the authors combined intraoperative functional MRI (fMRI) with STN DBS in 20 patients with PD to test the hypothesis that stimulation-induced blood oxygen level–dependent signals contained predictive information concerning the therapeutic and adverse effects of stimulation.

RESULTS

As expected, DBS resulted in blood oxygen level–dependent activation in myriad motor regions, including the primary motor cortex, caudate, putamen, thalamus, midbrain, and cerebellum. Across the patients, DBS-induced improvements in contralateral Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale tremor subscores correlated with activation of thalamic, brainstem, and cerebellar regions. In addition, improvements in rigidity and bradykinesia subscores correlated with activation of the primary motor cortex. Finally, activation of specific sensorimotor-related subregions correlated with the presence of DBS-induced adverse effects, including paresthesia and nausea (cerebellar cortex, sensorimotor cortex) and unwanted muscle contractions (caudate and putamen).

CONCLUSIONS

These results suggest that DBS-induced activation patterns revealed by fMRI contain predictive information with respect to the therapeutic and adverse effects of DBS. The use of fMRI in combination with DBS therefore may hold translational potential to guide and improve clinical stimulator optimization in patients.

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Sanjeet S. Grewal, Richard S. Zimmerman, Gregory Worrell, Benjamin H. Brinkmann, William O. Tatum, Amy Z. Crepeau, David A. Woodrum, Krzysztof R. Gorny, Joel P. Felmlee, Robert E. Watson, Joseph M. Hoxworth, Vivek Gupta, Prasanna Vibhute, Max R. Trenerry, Timothy J. Kaufmann, W. Richard Marsh, Robert E. Wharen Jr., and Jamie J. Van Gompel

OBJECTIVE

Although it is still early in its application, laser interstitial thermal therapy (LiTT) has increasingly been employed as a surgical option for patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy. This study aimed to describe mesial temporal lobe ablation volumes and seizure outcomes following LiTT across the Mayo Clinic’s 3 epilepsy surgery centers.

METHODS

This was a multi-site, single-institution, retrospective review of seizure outcomes and ablation volumes following LiTT for medically intractable mesial temporal lobe epilepsy between October 2011 and October 2015. Pre-ablation and post-ablation follow-up volumes of the hippocampus were measured using FreeSurfer, and the volume of ablated tissue was also measured on intraoperative MRI using a supervised spline-based edge detection algorithm. To determine seizure outcomes, results were compared between those patients who were seizure free and those who continued to experience seizures.

RESULTS

There were 23 patients who underwent mesial temporal LiTT within the study period. Fifteen patients (65%) had left-sided procedures. The median follow-up was 34 months (range 12–70 months). The mean ablation volume was 6888 mm3. Median hippocampal ablation was 65%, with a median amygdala ablation of 43%. At last follow-up, 11 (48%) of these patients were seizure free. There was no correlation between ablation volume and seizure freedom (p = 0.69). There was also no correlation between percent ablation of the amygdala (p = 0.28) or hippocampus (p = 0.82) and seizure outcomes. Twelve patients underwent formal testing with computational visual fields. Visual field changes were seen in 67% of patients who underwent testing. Comparing the 5 patients with clinically noticeable visual field deficits to the rest of the cohort showed no significant difference in ablation volume between those patients with visual field deficits and those without (p = 0.94). There were 11 patients with follow-up neuropsychological testing. Within this group, verbal learning retention was 76% in the patients with left-sided procedures and 89% in those with right-sided procedures.

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, there was no significant correlation between the ablation volume after LiTT and seizure outcomes. Visual field deficits were common in formally tested patients, much as in patients treated with open temporal lobectomy. Further studies are required to determine the role of amygdalohippocampal ablation.