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Guglielmo Puglisi, Tommaso Sciortino, Marco Rossi, Antonella Leonetti, Luca Fornia, Marco Conti Nibali, Alessandra Casarotti, Federico Pessina, Marco Riva, Gabriella Cerri and Lorenzo Bello

OBJECTIVE

The goal of surgery for gliomas is maximal tumor removal while preserving the patient’s full functional integrity. At present during frontal tumor removal, this goal is mostly achieved, although the risk of impairing the executive functions (EFs), and thus the quality of life, remains significant. The authors investigated the accuracy of an intraoperative version of the Stroop task (iST), adapted for intraoperative mapping, to detect EF-related brain sites by evaluating the impact of the iST brain mapping on preserving functional integrity following a maximal tumor resection.

METHODS

Forty-five patients with nondominant frontal gliomas underwent awake surgery; brain mapping was used to establish the functional boundaries for the resection. In 18 patients language, praxis, and motor functions, but not EFs (control group), were mapped intraoperatively at the cortical-subcortical level. In 27 patients, in addition to language, praxis, and motor functions, EFs were mapped with the iST at the cortical-subcortical level (Stroop group). In both groups the EF performance was evaluated preoperatively, at 7 days and 3 months after surgery.

RESULTS

The iST was successfully administered in all patients. Consistent interferences, such as color-word inversion/latency, were obtained by stimulating precise white matter sites below the inferior and middle frontal gyri, anterior to the insula and over the putamen, and these were used to establish the posterior functional limit of the resection. Procedures implemented with iST dramatically reduced the EF deficits at 3 months. The EOR was similar in Stroop and control groups.

CONCLUSIONS

Brain mapping with the iST allows identification and preservation of the frontal lobe structures involved in inhibition of automatic responses, reducing the incidence of postoperative EF deficits and enhancing the further posterior and inferior margin of tumor resection.

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Nicola Boari, Filippo Gagliardi, Andrea Cavalli, Marco Gemma, Luca Ferrari, Paola Riva and Pietro Mortini

OBJECTIVE

Skull base chordomas (SBCs) are rare dysembryogenetic invasive tumors with a variable tendency for recurrence. According to previous studies, the recurrence rate seems to be affected by both clinical variables and tumor biological features. The authors present the results of treatment of SBCs in a large series of patients and investigate the role of 1p36 chromosomal region loss of heterozygosity (LOH) as a prognostic factor.

METHODS

Between 1990 and 2011, 45 patients were treated for SBCs. The mean follow-up was 76 months (range 1–240 months). An LOH analysis was performed in 27 cases. Survival analysis was performed to determine clinical and biological parameters correlating with clinical outcome.

RESULTS

The 5- and 10-year overall survival rates were 67% and 57%, respectively. Five- and 10-year progression-free survival rates were 58% and 44%, respectively. Multivariate analysis showed that extent of resection, adjuvant radiation therapy, and absence of rhinopharynx invasion were positive independent predictors of overall survival. The latter 2 variables and a younger patient age were positive independent predictors of progression-free survival. Twenty-one patients showed 1p36 LOH. All events of recurrence and death clustered in the group of patients with 1p36 LOH; however, this biological marker was not statistically significant on multivariate analysis.

CONCLUSIONS

Resection is the treatment of choice in primary and recurrent SBC. Patient age, rhinopharynx invasion at diagnosis, extent of tumor removal, and postoperative radiation therapy influence SBC prognosis. Genetic analysis, even while showing interesting results, did not reveal 1p36 LOH as an independent predictor of clinical outcome.

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Francesco Costa, Alessandro Ortolina, Luca Attuati, Andrea Cardia, Massimo Tomei, Marco Riva, Luca Balzarini and Maurizio Fornari

OBJECT

Fractures of C-1 and C-2 are complex and surgical management may be difficult and challenging due to the anatomical relationship sbetween the vertebrae and neurovascular structures. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role, reliability, and accuracy of cervical fixation using the O-arm intraoperative 3D image–based navigation system.

METHODS

The authors evaluated patients who underwent a navigation system–based surgery for stabilization of a fracture of C-1 and/or C-2 from August 2011 to August 2013. All of the fixation screws were intraoperatively checked and their position was graded.

RESULTS

The patient population comprised 17 patients whose median age was 47.6 years. The surgical procedures were as follows: anterior dens screw fixation in 2 cases, transarticular fixation of C-1 and C-2 in 1 case, fixation using the Harms technique in 12 cases, and occipitocervical fixation in 2 cases. A total of 67 screws were placed. The control intraoperative CT scan revealed 62 screws (92.6%) correctly placed, 4 (5.9%) with a minor cortical violation (< 2 mm), and only 1 screw (1.5%) that was judged to be incorrectly placed and that was immediately corrected. No vascular injury of the vertebral artery was observed either during exposition or during screw placement. No implant failure was observed.

CONCLUSIONS

The use of a navigation system based on an intraoperative CT allows a real-time visualization of the vertebrae, reducing the risks of screw misplacement and consequent complications.

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Marco Riva, Enrica Fava, Marcello Gallucci, Alessandro Comi, Alessandra Casarotti, Tommaso Alfiero, Fabio A. Raneri, Federico Pessina and Lorenzo Bello

OBJECT

Intraoperative language mapping is traditionally performed with low-frequency bipolar stimulation (LFBS). High-frequency train-of-five stimulation delivered by a monopolar probe (HFMS) is an alternative technique for motor mapping, with a lower reported seizure incidence. The application of HFMS in language mapping is still limited. Authors of this study assessed the efficacy and safety of HFMS for language mapping during awake surgery, exploring its clinical impact compared with that of LFBS.

METHODS

Fifty-nine patients underwent awake surgery with neuropsychological testing, and LFBS and HFMS were compared. Frequency, type, and site of evoked interference were recorded. Language was scored preoperatively and 1 week and 3 months after surgery. Extent of resection was calculated as well.

RESULTS

High-frequency monopolar stimulation induced a language disturbance when the repetition rate was set at 3 Hz. Interference with counting (p = 0.17) and naming (p = 0.228) did not vary between HFMS and LFBS. These results held true when preoperative tumor volume, lesion site, histology, and recurrent surgery were considered.

Intraoperative responses (1603) in all patients were compared. The error rate for both modalities differed from baseline values (p < 0.001) but not with one another (p = 0.06). Low-frequency bipolar stimulation sensitivity (0.458) and precision (0.665) were slightly higher than the HFMS counterparts (0.367 and 0.582, respectively). The error rate across the 3 types of language errors (articulatory, anomia, paraphasia) did not differ between the 2 stimulation methods (p = 0.279).

CONCLUSIONS

With proper setting adjustments, HFMS is a safe and effective technique for language mapping.

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Marco Rossi, Luca Fornia, Guglielmo Puglisi, Antonella Leonetti, Gianmarco Zuccon, Enrica Fava, Daniela Milani, Alessandra Casarotti, Marco Riva, Federico Pessina, Gabriella Cerri and Lorenzo Bello

OBJECTIVE

Apraxia is a cognitive-motor deficit affecting the execution of skilled movements, termed praxis gestures, in the absence of primary sensory or motor disorders. In patients affected by stroke, apraxia is associated with lesions of the lateral parietofrontal stream, connecting the posterior parietal areas with the ventrolateral premotor area and subserving sensory-motor integration for the hand movements. In the neurosurgical literature to date, there are few reports regarding the incidence of apraxia after glioma surgery. A retrospective analysis of patients who harbored a glioma around the central sulcus and close to the parietofrontal circuits in depth showed a high incidence of long-term postoperative hand apraxia, impairing the patients’ quality of life. To avoid the occurrence of postoperative apraxia, the authors sought to develop an innovative intraoperative hand manipulation task (HMt) that can be used in association with the brain mapping technique to identify and preserve the cortical and subcortical structures belonging to the praxis network.

METHODS

The intraoperative efficacy of the HMt was investigated by comparing the incidence of postoperative ideomotor apraxia between patients undergoing mapping with (n = 79) and without (n = 41) the HMt. Patient groups were balanced for all demographic and clinical features.

RESULTS

In patients with lesions in the dominant hemisphere, the HMt dramatically reduced the incidence of apraxia, with a higher sensitivity for the ideomotor than for the constructional abilities; patients with lesions in the nondominant hemisphere benefitted from the HMt for both ideomotor and constructional abilities. The administration of the test did not reduce the extent of resection.

CONCLUSIONS

The HMt is a safe and feasible intraoperative tool that allowed surgeons to prevent the occurrence of long-term hand apraxia while attaining resection goals for the surgical treatment of glioma.

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Pietro Mortini, Marco Losa, Gabriella Pozzobon, Raffaella Barzaghi, Marco Riva, Stefania Acerno, Diana Angius, Giovanna Weber, Giuseppe Chiumello and Massimo Giovanelli

Object

Craniopharyngioma accounts for 2%–5% of all primary intracranial neoplasms. The optimal management of craniopharyngioma remains controversial. The authors evaluated the early results of surgery and the longterm risk of tumor recurrence in a large series of patients undergoing resection of craniopharyngiomas.

Methods

Between 1990 and 2008, 112 consecutive patients (57 male and 55 female patients with a mean [± SEM] age of 33.3 ± 1.8 years) underwent resection of craniopharyngiomas at the authors' hospital. Recurrence or growth of residual tumor tissue during follow-up was assessed using MR imaging.

Results

There were 3 perioperative deaths (2.7%). Severe adverse events were more frequent in patients who underwent operations via the transcranial route (37%) than the transsphenoidal approach (5.6%; p < 0.001). Magnetic resonance imaging showed radical resection of the tumor in 78 (71.6%) of the remaining 109 patients. Previous surgery and maximum tumor diameter were associated with persistence of disease after surgery. Craniopharyngioma recurred in 26 (24.5%) of 106 patients. Presence of residual tumor on the first postoperative MR imaging, male sex, and no postoperative radiation therapy were associated with a risk of tumor recurrence. Quality-of-life data were assessed in the 91 patients who attended the authors' institution for follow-up visits. Among them, 8.8% patients were partially or completely dependent on others for daily living activities before surgery. This percentage increased to 14.3% at the last follow-up visit. The 5- and 10-year overall survival rates were 94.4% (95% CI 90.0%–98.8%) and 90.3% (95% CI 83.4%–97.3%), respectively.

Conclusions

Complete surgical removal of craniopharyngioma can be achieved with reasonable safety in more than 70% of patients. Recurrence of craniopharyngioma may occur even after apparent radical excision. Prompt management of residual or recurring disease by radiotherapy, repeat surgery, or a combination of both is usually successful in controlling further tumor growth.

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Marco Rossi, Federico Ambrogi, Lorenzo Gay, Marcello Gallucci, Marco Conti Nibali, Antonella Leonetti, Guglielmo Puglisi, Tommaso Sciortino, Henrietta Howells, Marco Riva, Federico Pessina, Pierina Navarria, Ciro Franzese, Matteo Simonelli, Roberta Rudà and Lorenzo Bello

OBJECTIVE

Surgery for low-grade gliomas (LGGs) aims to achieve maximal tumor removal and maintenance of patients’ functional integrity. Because extent of resection is one of the factors affecting the natural history of LGGs, surgery could be extended further than total resection toward a supratotal resection, beyond tumor borders detectable on FLAIR imaging. Supratotal resection is highly debated, mainly due to a lack of evidence of its feasibility and safety. The authors explored the intraoperative feasibility of supratotal resection and its short- and long-term impact on functional integrity in a large cohort of patients. The role of some putative factors in the achievement of supratotal resection was also studied.

METHODS

Four hundred forty-nine patients with a presumptive radiological diagnosis of LGG consecutively admitted to the neurosurgical oncology service at the University of Milan over a 5-year period were enrolled. In all patients, a policy was adopted to perform surgery according to functional boundaries, aimed at achieving a supratotal resection whenever possible, without any patient or tumor a priori selection. Feasibility, general safety, and tumor or patient putative factors possibly affecting the achievement of a supratotal resection were analyzed. Postsurgical patient functional performance was evaluated in five cognitive domains (memory, language, praxis, executive functions, and fluid intelligence) using a detailed neuropsychological evaluation and quality of life (QOL) examination.

RESULTS

Total resection was feasible in 40.8% of patients, and supratotal resection in 32.3%. The achievement of a supratotal versus total resection was independent of age, sex, education, tumor volume, deep extension, location, handedness, appearance of tumor border, vicinity to eloquent sites, surgical mapping time, or surgical tools applied. Supratotal resection was associated with a long clinical history and histological grade II, suggesting that reshaping of brain networks occurred. Although a consistent amount of apparently MRI-normal brain was removed with this approach, the procedure was safe and did not carry additional risk to the patient, as demonstrated by detailed neuropsychological evaluation and QOL examination. This approach also improved seizure control.

CONCLUSIONS

Supratotal resection is feasible and safe in routine clinical practice. These results show that a long clinical history may be the main factor associated with its achievement.

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Lorenzo Bello, Antonella Castellano, Enrica Fava, Giuseppe Casaceli, Marco Riva, Giuseppe Scotti, Sergio Maria Gaini and Andrea Falini

Resection of lesions involving motor or language areas or pathways requires the intraoperative identification of functional cortical and subcortical sites for effectively and safe guidance. Diffusion tensor (DT) imaging and fiber tractography are MR imaging techniques based on the concept of anisotropic water diffusion in myelinated fibers, which enable 3D reconstruction and visualization of white matter tracts and provide information about the relationship of these tracts to the tumor mass. The authors routinely used DT imaging fiber tractography to reconstruct various tracts involved in the motor and/or language system in a large series of patients with lesions involving the motor and/or language areas or pathways. The DT imaging fiber tractography data were loaded into the neuronavigational system and combined intraoperatively with those obtained from direct electrical stimulation applied at the subcortical level. In this paper the authors report the results of their experience, describing the findings for each tract and discussing technical aspects of the combined use as well as the pitfalls.

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Derek G. Southwell, Marco Riva, Kesshi Jordan, Eduardo Caverzasi, Jing Li, David W. Perry, Roland G. Henry and Mitchel S. Berger

OBJECTIVE

The dominant inferior parietal lobule (IPL) contains cortical and subcortical regions essential for language. Although resection of IPL tumors could result in language deficits, little is known about the likelihood of postoperative language morbidity or the risk factors predisposing to this outcome.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively examined a series of patients who underwent resections of gliomas from the dominant IPL. Postoperative language outcomes were characterized across the patient population. To identify factors associated with postoperative language morbidity, the authors then compared features between those patients who experienced postoperative deficits and those who experienced no postoperative language dysfunction.

RESULTS

Twenty-four patients were identified for analysis. Long-term language deficits occurred in 29.2% of patients (7 of 24): 3 of these patients had experienced preoperative language deficits, whereas new long-term language deficits occurred in 4 patients (16.7%; 4 of 24). Of those patients who exhibited preoperative language deficits, 62.5% (5 of 8) experienced long-term resolution of their language deficits with surgical treatment. All patients underwent intraoperative brain mapping by direct electrical stimulation. Awake, intraoperative cortical language mapping was performed on 17 patients (70.8%). Positive cortical language sites were identified in 23.5% of these patients (4 of 17). Awake, intraoperative subcortical language mapping was performed in 8 patients (33.3%). Positive subcortical language sites were identified in 62.5% of these patients (5 of 8). Patients with positive cortical language sites exhibited a higher rate of long-term language deficits (3 of 4, 75%), compared with those who did not (1 of 13, 7.7%; p = 0.02). Although patients with positive subcortical language sites exhibited a higher rate of long-term language deficits than those who exhibited only negative sites (40.0% vs 0.0%, respectively), this difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.46). Additionally, patients with long-term language deficits were older than those without deficits (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

In a small number of patients with preoperative language deficits, IPL glioma resection resulted in improved language function. However, in patients with intact preoperative language function, resection of IPL gliomas may result in new language deficits, especially if the tumors are diffuse, high-grade lesions. Thus, language-dominant IPL glioma resection is not risk-free, yet it is safe and its morbidity can be reduced by the use of cortical and subcortical stimulation mapping.