Minimally invasive surgical techniques for the treatment of medically intractable epilepsy, which have been developed by neurosurgeons and epileptologists almost simultaneously with standard open epilepsy surgery, provide benefits in the traditional realms of safety and efficacy and the more recently appreciated realms of patient acceptance and costs. In this review, the authors discuss the shortcomings of the gold standard of open epilepsy surgery and summarize the techniques developed to provide minimally invasive alternatives. These minimally invasive techniques include stereotactic radiosurgery using the Gamma Knife, stereotactic radiofrequency thermocoagulation, laser-induced thermal therapy, and MRI-guided focused ultrasound ablation.
Mark Quigg and Cynthia Harden
Report of two cases
Mark Quigg, David S. Geldmacher, and W. Jeff Elias
✓ Assessment of eloquent functions during brain mapping usually relies on testing reading, speech, and comprehension to uncover transient deficits during electrical stimulation. These tests stem from findings predicted by the Geschwind–Wernicke hypothesis of receptive and expressive cortices connected by white matter tracts. Later work, however, has emphasized cortical mechanisms of language function. The authors report two cases that demonstrate that conduction aphasia is cortically mediated and can be inadequately assessed if not specifically evaluated during brain mapping.
To determine the distribution of language on the dominant cortex, electrical cortical stimulation was performed in two cases by using implanted subdural electrodes during brain mapping before epilepsy surgery. A transient isolated deficit in repetition of language was reported during stimulation of the posterior portion of the dominant superior temporal gyrus in one patient and during stimulation of the supramarginal gyrus in the other patient.
These cases demonstrate a localization of language repetition to the posterior perisylvian cortex. Brain mapping of this region should include assessment of verbal repetition to avoid potential deficits resembling conduction aphasia.
Chang-Chia Liu, Shayan Moosa, Mark Quigg, and W. Jeffrey Elias
Chronic pain results in an enormous societal and financial burden. Opioids are the mainstay of treatment, but opioid abuse has led to an epidemic in the United States. Nonpharmacological treatment strategies like deep brain stimulation could be applied to refractory chronic pain if safe and effective brain targets are identified. The anterior insula is a putative mediator of pain-related affective-motivational and cognitive-evaluative cerebral processing. However, the effect of anterior insula stimulation on pain perception is still unknown. Here, the authors provide behavioral and neurophysiological evidence for stimulating the anterior insula as a means of potential therapeutic intervention for patients with chronic pain.
Six patients with epilepsy in whom intracerebral electrodes had been implanted for seizure localization were recruited to the study. The direct anterior insula stimulations were performed in the inpatient epilepsy monitoring unit while subjects were fully awake, comfortable, and without sedating medications. The effects of anterior insula stimulation were assessed with quantitative sensory testing for heat pain threshold, nociceptive-specific cutaneous laser-evoked potentials, and intracranial electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings. Control stimulation of noninsular brain regions was performed to test stimulation specificity. Sham stimulations, in which no current was delivered, were also performed to control for potential placebo effects. The safety of these stimulations was evaluated by bedside physicians, real-time intracranial EEG monitoring, and electrocardiogram recordings.
Following anterior insula stimulations, the heat pain threshold of each patient significantly increased from baseline (p < 0.001) and correlated with stimulation intensity (regression analysis: β = 0.5712, standard error 0.070, p < 0.001). Significant changes in ongoing intracranial EEG frequency band powers (p < 0.001), reduction in laser pain intensity, and attenuated laser-evoked potentials were also observed following stimulations. Furthermore, the observed behavioral and neurophysiological effects persisted beyond the stimulations. Subjects were not aware of the stimulations, and there were no cardiovascular or untoward effects.
Additional, nonpharmacological therapies are imperative for the future management of chronic pain conditions and to mitigate the ongoing opioid crisis. This study suggests that direct stimulation of the anterior insula can safely alter cerebral pain processing in humans. Further investigation of the anterior insula as a potential target for therapeutic neuromodulation is underway.
Mark Quigg, Chun-Po Yen, Micaela Chatman, Anders H. Quigg, Ian T. McNeill, Colin J. Przybylowski, Guofen Yan, and Jason P. Sheehan
Diabetes mellitus (DM) and hypertension may be associated with complications following fractionated radiotherapy. To date no studies have determined the risk of radiation toxicity in patients with DM or hypertension who have undergone Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) for brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). The goal of the present study was to determine associations between DM or hypertension and other factors in the development of radiotoxicity, as measured by radiation-induced changes (RICs) on MR images following radiosurgery for AVM.
Using univariate methods and multivariate logistic regression, the authors compared the RIC status in patients 18 years of age and older with these patients' history of, or medication use for, DM or hypertension; tobacco use; patient age and sex; AVM volume; Spetzler-Martin AVM severity scale (Grades I and II vs Grades III–V); AVM surgery, AVM embolization, or hemorrhage prior to radiosurgery; AVM location; number of draining veins; and radiosurgery margin dose.
Radiation-induced changes occurred in 38% of 539 adults within a mean (± standard deviation) of 12 ± 10 months after radiosurgery, as observed during a median follow-up time of 55 months. Among patients in whom RICs occurred, 34% had headaches, neurological deficits, or new-onset seizures. Larger RICs were associated with worse symptoms. According to a univariate analysis, DM (3% of patients), larger AVM volume, worse Spetzler-Martin grade, lack of AVM surgery prior to radiosurgery, lack of hemorrhage prior to radiosurgery, and smaller margin dose of radiation had significant associations with the presence of RICs. Hypertension (20%), patient sex, tobacco use, number of draining veins, superficial or deep location of the lesion, and AVM embolization prior to radiosurgery had no association with the presence of RICs. According to a multivariate analysis, larger AVM volume, worse Spetzler-Martin grade, and no AVM surgery prior to radiosurgery predicted the occurrence of an RIC. Diabetes mellitus had borderline significance.
Vascular factors such as hypertension, patient sex, and tobacco use did not convey additional risks of radiotoxicity, but DM remained a possible cardiovascular risk factor in the development of RICs.
Jason P. Sheehan, Jonas M. Sheehan, Howard Seeherman, Mark Quigg, and Gregory A. Helm
Object. The goal of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein 2 (rhBMP-2) in cranial applications.
Methods. Critical-sized calvarial defects were created bilaterally in four rhesus monkeys, and bilateral rectangular bone flaps were created in six others. Control and rhBMP-2—treated sides were randomly chosen for each animal, and an absorbable collagen sponge was used to deliver the growth factor. Over a 6-month period postoperatively, the animals were serially evaluated for bone healing and adverse BMP-related consequences by using the following methods: computerized tomography (CT) scanning, magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, electroencephalography, histological investigations, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis.
The critical-sized defects for the rhBMP-2—treated and control sides attained 71 ± 12% and 28 ± 11% closure, respectively (four animals; p = 0.04). The CT scans demonstrated that the bone flaps treated with rhBMP-2 had complete osteointegration in five of six animals, whereas scans of the untreated bone flaps demonstrated uniformly poor osteointegration with the intact skull. Histological analysis confirmed well-formed bridges of bone on the rhBMP-2—treated sides. No epileptogenic activity was detected in any of the animals, and MR imaging revealed no evidence of adverse effects on the brain parenchyma. Meningitic irritation was not found on postoperative CSF sample analysis.
Conclusions. Treatment of bone flaps and critical-sized cranial defects with rhBMP-2 leads to improved bone formation and osteointegration in nonhuman primates. Initial evaluation of rhBMP-2 appears to indicate a good safety profile for use in cranial procedures in primates.
Dale Ding, Mark Quigg, Robert M. Starke, Zhiyuan Xu, Chun-Po Yen, Colin J. Przybylowski, Blair K. Dodson, and Jason P. Sheehan
The temporal lobe is particularly susceptible to epileptogenesis. However, the routine use of anticonvulsant therapy is not implemented in temporal lobe AVM patients without seizures at presentation. The goals of this case-control study were to determine the radiosurgical outcomes for temporal lobe AVMs and to define the effect of temporal lobe location on postradiosurgery AVM seizure outcomes.
From a database of approximately 1400 patients, the authors generated a case cohort from patients with temporal lobe AVMs with at least 2 years follow-up or obliteration. A control cohort with similar baseline AVM characteristics was generated, blinded to outcome, from patients with non-temporal, cortical AVMs. They evaluated the rates and predictors of seizure freedom or decreased seizure frequency in patients with seizures or de novo seizures in those without seizures.
A total of 175 temporal lobe AVMs were identified based on the inclusion criteria. Seizure was the presenting symptom in 38% of patients. The median AVM volume was 3.3 cm3, and the Spetzler-Martin grade was III or higher in 39% of cases. The median radiosurgical prescription dose was 22 Gy. At a median clinical follow-up of 73 months, the rates of seizure control and de novo seizures were 62% and 2%, respectively. Prior embolization (p = 0.023) and lower radiosurgical dose (p = 0.027) were significant predictors of seizure control. Neither temporal lobe location (p = 0.187) nor obliteration (p = 0.522) affected seizure outcomes. The cumulative obliteration rate was 63%, which was significantly higher in patients without seizures at presentation (p = 0.046). The rates of symptomatic and permanent radiation-induced changes were 3% and 1%, respectively. The annual risk of postradiosurgery hemorrhage was 1.3%.
Radiosurgery is an effective treatment for temporal lobe AVMs. Furthermore, radiosurgery is protective against seizure progression in patients with temporal lobe AVM–associated seizures. Temporal lobe location does not affect radiosurgery-induced seizure control. The low risk of new-onset seizures in patients with temporal or extratemporal AVMs does not seem to warrant prophylactic use of anticonvulsants.
Colin J. Przybylowski, Dale Ding, Robert M. Starke, Chun-Po Yen, Mark Quigg, Blair Dodson, Benjamin Z. Ball, and Jason P. Sheehan
Epilepsy associated with arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) has an unclear course after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). Neither the risks of persistent seizures nor the requirement for postoperative antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) are well defined.
The authors performed a retrospective review of all patients with AVMs who underwent SRS at the University of Virginia Health System from 1989 to 2012. Seizure status was categorized according to a modified Engel classification. The effects of demographic, AVM-related, and SRS treatment factors on seizure outcomes were evaluated with logistic regression analysis. Changes in AED status were evaluated using McNemar's test.
Of the AVM patients with pre- or post-SRS seizures, 73 with pre-SRS epilepsy had evaluable data for subsequent analysis. The median patient age was 37 years (range 5–69 years), and the median follow-up period was 65.6 months (range 12–221 months). Sixty-five patients (89%) achieved seizure remission (Engel Class IA or IB outcome). Patients presenting with simple partial or secondarily generalized seizures were more likely to achieve Engel Class I outcome (p = 0.045). Twenty-one (33%) of 63 patients tapered off of pre-SRS AEDs. The incidence of freedom from AED therapy increased significantly after SRS (p < 0.001, McNemar's test). Of the Engel Class IA patients who continued AED therapy, 54% had patent AVM nidi, whereas only 19% continued AED therapy with complete AVM obliteration (p = 0.05).
Stereotactic radiosurgery is an effective treatment for long-term AVM-related epilepsy. Seizure-free patients on continued AED therapy were more likely to have residual AVM nidi. Simple partial or secondarily generalized seizure type were associated with better seizure outcomes following SRS.