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Hiroki Toda, Namiko Nishida, and Koichi Iwasaki

Holmes tremor is often treated with multiple deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrodes. The authors describe a novel technique to suppress the tremors by effectively utilizing a single electrode.

A 16-year-old boy presented with severe right arm tremor following a midbrain injury. A DBS electrode was implanted into the ventral oralis nucleus of the thalamus (VO) and the subthalamic region. While individual stimulation of each target was ineffective, an interleaved dual stimulation of both targets has been effective for 6 years.

Coaxial interleaved stimulation of the VO and the subthalamic region is useful for treating Holmes tremor.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/tSwGh3vy68c.

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Nobuhiro Mikuni, Takeshi Satow, Junya Taki, Namiko Nishida, Rei Enatsu, and Nobuo Hashimoto

✓ Difficulty swallowing due to damage of the vagus nerve is one of the most devastating complications of surgery in and around the medulla oblongata; therefore, intraoperative anatomical and functional evaluation of this nerve is crucial. The authors applied endotracheal tube surface electrodes to record electromyography (EMG) activity from vocal cords innervated by the vagus nerve. The vagal nucleus or rootlet was electrically stimulated during surgery and vocalis muscle EMG activities were displayed by auditory and visual signals. This technique was used successfully to identify the vagus motor nerve and evaluate its integrity during surgery. The advantages of this method compared with the use of needle electrodes include safe simple electrode placement and stable recording during surgery. In cases involving a pontine cavernoma pressing the nucleus or a jugular foramen tumor encircling the rootlet, this method would be particularly valuable. Additional studies with a larger number of patients are needed to estimate the significance of this method as a means of functional monitoring to predict clinical function.

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Hiroki Toda, Koichi Iwasaki, Naoya Yoshimoto, Yoshihito Miki, Hirokuni Hashikata, Masanori Goto, and Namiko Nishida

OBJECTIVE

In microvascular decompression surgery for trigeminal neuralgia and hemifacial spasm, the bridging veins are dissected to provide the surgical corridors, and the veins of the brainstem may be mobilized in cases of venous compression. Strategy and technique in dissecting these veins may affect the surgical outcome. The authors investigated solutions for minimizing venous complications and reviewed the outcome for venous decompression.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed their surgical series of microvascular decompression for trigeminal neuralgia and hemifacial spasm in patients treated between 2005 and 2017. Surgical strategies included preservation of the superior petrosal vein and its tributaries, thorough dissection of the arachnoid sleeve that enveloped these veins, cutting of the inferior petrosal vein over the lower cranial nerves, and mobilization or cutting of the veins of the brainstem that compressed the nerve roots. The authors summarized the patient characteristics, operative findings, and postoperative outcomes according to the vascular compression types as follows: artery alone, artery and vein, and vein alone. They analyzed the data using chi-square and 1-way ANOVA tests.

RESULTS

The cohort was composed of 121 patients with trigeminal neuralgia and 205 patients with hemifacial spasm. The superior petrosal vein and its tributaries were preserved with no serious complications in all patients with trigeminal neuralgia. Venous compression alone and arterial and venous compressions were observed in 4% and 22%, respectively, of the patients with trigeminal neuralgia, and in 1% and 2%, respectively, of those with hemifacial spasm (p < 0.0001). In patients with trigeminal neuralgia, 35% of those with artery and venous compressions and 80% of those with venous compression alone had atypical neuralgia (p = 0.015). The surgical cure and recurrence rates of trigeminal neuralgias with venous compression were 60% and 20%, respectively, and with arterial and venous compressions the rates were 92% and 12%, respectively (p < 0.0001, p = 0.04). In patients with hemifacial spasm who had arterial and venous compressions, their recurrence rate was 60%, and that was significantly higher compared to other compression types (p = 0.0008).

CONCLUSIONS

Dissection of the arachnoid sleeve that envelops the superior petrosal vein may help to reduce venous complications in surgery for trigeminal neuralgia. Venous compression may correlate with worse prognosis even with thorough decompression, in both trigeminal neuralgia and hemifacial spasm.

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Nobuhiro Mikuni, Tsutomu Okada, Namiko Nishida, Junya Taki, Rei Enatsu, Akio Ikeda, Yukio Miki, Takashi Hanakawa, Hidenao Fukuyama, and Nobuo Hashimoto

Object

The utility of subcortical electrical stimulation and fiber tracking were compared to estimate the pyramidal tract near brain tumors.

Methods

In 22 patients, the white matter at the bottom of a tumor was electrically stimulated near the fiber tracking of the pyramidal tract shown on a neuronavigation system. The distance between the center of the fiber tracking of these tracts and the stimulated region was measured and defined as the motor evoked potential (MEP) response. The MEP was consistently produced at distances less than 7 mm (six patients), but was consistently absent at distances more than 13 mm (seven patients) from the fiber tracking of the pyramidal tracts. In the nine patients in whom the distance was between 8 and 12 mm, an MEP was elicited when stimulation was applied at the level of the corona radiata. Motor function was preserved or even improved with appropriate tumor resection in all patients.

Conclusions

The anteroposteriorly running superior longitudinal fasciculus could cause complications in the fiber tracking of upper-extremity motor pathways at the level of the corona radiata. During resection of tumors located near the corona radiata, subcortical electrical stimulation should be applied at some distance from the pyramidal tract, as estimated by fiber tracking.