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José M. González-Darder, Pablo González-López, Fernando Talamantes, Vicent Quilis, Victoria Cortés, Guillermo García-March, and Pedro Roldán

Object

Nowadays the role of microsurgical management of intrinsic brain tumors is to maximize the volumetric resection of the tumoral tissue, minimizing the postoperative morbidity. The purpose of this paper was to study the benefits of an original protocol developed for the microsurgical treatment of tumors located in eloquent motor areas where the navigation and electrical stimulation of motor subcortical pathways have been implemented.

Methods

A total of 17 patients who underwent resection of cortical or subcortical tumors in motor areas have been included in the series. The preoperative planning for multimodal navigation was done by integrating anatomical studies, motor functional MR (fMR) imaging, and subcortical pathway volumes generated by diffusion tensor (DT) imaging. Intraoperative neuromonitoring included motor mapping by direct cortical stimulation (CS) and subcortical stimulation (sCS), and localization of the central sulcus by using cortical multipolar electrodes and the N20 wave inversion technique. The location of all cortically and subcortically stimulated points with positive motor response was stored in the navigator and correlated with the cortical and subcortical motor functional structures defined preoperatively.

Results

The mean tumoral volumetric resection was 89.1 ± 14.2% of the preoperative volume, with a total resection (≥ 100%) in 8 patients. Preoperatively a total of 58.8% of the patients had some kind of motor neurological deficit, increasing 24 hours after surgery to 70.6% and decreasing to 47.1% at 1 month later. There was a great correlation between anatomical and functional data, both cortically and subcortically. A total of 52 cortical points submitted to CS had positive motor response, with a positive correlation of 83.7%. Also, a total of 55 subcortical points had positive motor response; in these cases the mean distance from the stimulated point to the subcortical tract was 7.3 ± 3.1 mm.

Conclusions

The integration of anatomical and functional studies allows a safe functional resection of the brain tumors located in eloquent areas. Multimodal navigation allows integration and correlation among preoperative and intraoperative anatomical and functional data. Cortical motor functional areas are anatomically and functionally located preoperatively thanks to MR and fMR imaging and subcortical motor pathways with DT imaging and tractography. Intraoperative confirmation is done with CS and N20 inversion wave for cortical structures and with sCS for subcortical pathways. With this protocol the authors achieved a good volumetric resection in cortical and subcortical tumors located in eloquent motor areas, with an increase in the incidence of neurological deficits in the immediate postoperative period that significantly decreased 1 month later. Ongoing studies must define the safe limits for functional resection, taking into account the intraoperative brain shift. Finally, it must be demonstrated whether this protocol has any long-term benefit for patients by prolonging the disease-free interval, the time to recurrence, or the survival time.

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Giulia Cossu, Pablo González-López, Etienne Pralong, Judith Kalser, Mahmoud Messerer, and Roy Thomas Daniel

OBJECTIVE

Surgery for frontal lobe epilepsy remains a challenge because of the variable seizure outcomes after surgery. Disconnective procedures are increasingly applied to isolate the epileptogenic focus and avoid complications related to extensive brain resection. Previously, the authors described the anterior quadrant disconnection procedure to treat large frontal lobe lesions extending up to but not involving the primary motor cortex. In this article, they describe a surgical technique for unilateral disconnection of the prefrontal cortex, while providing an accurate description of the surgical and functional anatomy of this disconnective procedure.

METHODS

The authors report the surgical treatment of a 5-month-old boy who presented with refractory epilepsy due to extensive cortical dysplasia of the left prefrontal lobe. In addition, with the aim of both describing the subcortical intrinsic anatomy and illustrating the different connections between the prefrontal lobe and the rest of the brain, the authors dissected six human cadaveric brain hemispheres. These dissections were performed from lateral to medial and from medial to lateral to reveal the various tracts sectioned during the three different steps in the surgery, namely the intrafrontal disconnection, anterior callosotomy, and frontobasal disconnection.

RESULTS

The first step of the dissection involves cutting the U-fibers. During the anterior intrafrontal disconnection, the superior longitudinal fasciculus in the depth of the middle frontal gyrus, the uncinate fasciculus, and the inferior frontooccipital fasciculus in the depth of the inferior frontal gyrus at the level of the anterior insular point are visualized and sectioned, followed by sectioning of the anterior limb of the internal capsule. Once the frontal horn is reached, the anterior callosotomy can be performed to disconnect the genu and the rostrum of the corpus callosum. The intrafrontal disconnection is deepened toward the falx, and at the medial surface, the cingulum is sectioned. The frontobasal disconnection involves cutting the anterior limb of the anterior commissure.

CONCLUSIONS

This technique allows selective isolation of the epileptogenic focus located in the prefrontal lobe to avoid secondary propagation. Understanding the surface and white matter fiber anatomy is essential to safely perform the procedure and obtain a favorable seizure outcome.

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Alice Senta Ryba, Juan Sales-Llopis, Stefan Wolfsberger, Aki Laakso, Roy Thomas Daniel, and Pablo González-López

Hemangioblastomas (HBs) are rare, benign, hypervascularized tumors. Fluorescent imaging with indocyanine green (ICG) can visualize tumor angioarchitecture. The authors report a case of multiple HBs involving two radiologically silent lesions only detected intraoperatively by ICG fluorescence. A 26-year-old woman presented with a cystic cerebellar mass on the tentorial surface of the left cerebellar hemisphere on MRI. A left paramedian suboccipital approach was performed to remove the mural nodule with the aid of ICG injection. The first injection, applied just prior to removing the nodule, highlighted the tumor and vessels. After resection, two new lesions, invisible on the preoperative MRI, surprisingly enhanced on fluorescent imaging 35 minutes after the ICG bolus. Both silent lesions were removed. Histological analysis of all three lesions revealed they were positive for HB. The main goal of this report is to hypothesize possible explanations about the mechanism that led to the behavior of the two silent lesions. Intraoperative ICG videoangiography was useful to understand the 3D angioarchitecture and HB flow patterns to perform a safe and complete resection in this case. Understanding the HB ultrastructure and pathophysiological mechanisms, in conjunction with the properties of ICG, may expand potential applications for their diagnosis and future treatments.

Free access

Pablo Gonzalez-Lopez, Giulia Cossu, Etienne Pralong, Matias Baldoncini, Mahmoud Messerer, and Roy Thomas Daniel

OBJECTIVE

Anterior quadrant disconnection represents a safe surgical option in well-selected pediatric patients with a large frontal lobe lesion anterior to the motor cortex. The understanding of the anatomy of the white matter tracts connecting the frontal lobe with the rest of the cerebrum forms the basis of a safe and successful disconnective surgery. The authors explored and illustrated the relevant white matter tracts sectioned during each surgical step using fiber dissection techniques.

METHODS

Five human cadaveric hemispheres were dissected to illustrate the frontal connections in the 3 planes. The dissections were performed from lateral to medial, medial to lateral, and ventral to dorsal to describe the various tracts sectioned during the 4 steps of this surgery, namely the anterior suprainsular window, intrafrontal disconnection, anterior callosotomy, and frontobasal disconnection.

RESULTS

At the beginning of each surgical step, the U fibers were cut. During the anterior suprainsular window, the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF), the uncinate fasciculus, and the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (IFOF) were visualized and sectioned, followed by sectioning of the anterior limb of the internal capsule. During the intrafrontal disconnection, the SLF was cut, along with the corona radiata. At the medial surface the cingulum was sectioned. The anterior callosotomy disconnected the anterior third of the body of the callosum, the genu, and the rostrum. The frontobasal disconnection addressed the last remaining fibers connecting the frontal lobe with the rest of the hemisphere, namely the anterior limb of the anterior commissure.

CONCLUSIONS

The anterior peri-insular quadrantotomy aims at effectively treating children with large lesions of the frontal lobe anterior to the motor cortex. A precise understanding of the gyral anatomy of this lobe along with the several white matter connections is crucial to avoid motor complications and to ensure complete disconnection.

Free access

Nasser M. F. El-Ghandour, Ahmed A. M. Ezzat, Mohamed A. Zaazoue, Pablo Gonzalez-Lopez, Balraj S. Jhawar, and Mohamed A. R. Soliman

OBJECTIVE

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused dramatic changes in medical education. Social distancing policies have resulted in the rapid adoption of virtual learning (VL) by neurosurgeons as a method to exchange knowledge, but it has been met with variable acceptance. The authors surveyed neurosurgeons from around the world regarding their opinions about VL and how they see the future of neurosurgical conferences.

METHODS

The authors conducted a global online survey assessing the experience of neurosurgeons and trainees with VL activities. They also questioned respondents about how they see the future of on-site conferences and scientific meetings. They analyzed responses against demographic data, regions in which the respondents practice, and socioeconomic factors by using frequency histograms and multivariate logistic regression models.

RESULTS

Eight hundred ninety-one responses from 96 countries were received. There has been an increase in VL activities since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most respondents perceive this type of learning as positive. Respondents from lower-income nations and regions such as Europe and Central Asia were more receptive to these changes and wanted to see further movement of educational activities (conferences and scientific meetings) into a VL format. The latter desire may be driven by financial savings from not traveling. Most queried neurosurgeons indicated that virtual events are likely to partially replace on-site events.

CONCLUSIONS

The pandemic has improved perceptions of VL, and despite its limitations, VL has been well received by the majority of neurosurgeons. Lower-income nations in particular are embracing this technology. VL is still evolving, but its integration with traditional in-person meetings seems inevitable.