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Scheherazade Le, Viet Nguyen, Leslie Lee, S. Charles Cho, Carmen Malvestio, Eric Jones, Robert Dodd, Gary Steinberg, and Jaime López

OBJECTIVE

Brainstem cavernous malformations (CMs) often require resection due to their aggressive natural history causing hemorrhage and progressive neurological deficits. The authors report a novel intraoperative neuromonitoring technique of direct brainstem somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) for functional mapping intended to help guide surgery and subsequently prevent and minimize postoperative sensory deficits.

METHODS

Between 2013 and 2019 at the Stanford University Hospital, intraoperative direct brainstem stimulation of primary somatosensory pathways was attempted in 11 patients with CMs. Stimulation identified nucleus fasciculus, nucleus cuneatus, medial lemniscus, or safe corridors for incisions. SSEPs were recorded from standard scalp subdermal electrodes. Stimulation intensities required to evoke potentials ranged from 0.3 to 3.0 mA or V.

RESULTS

There were a total of 1 midbrain, 6 pontine, and 4 medullary CMs—all with surrounding hemorrhage. In 7/11 cases, brainstem SSEPs were recorded and reproducible. In cases 1 and 11, peripheral median nerve and posterior tibial nerve stimulations did not produce reliable SSEPs but direct brainstem stimulation did. In 4/11 cases, stimulation around the areas of hemosiderin did not evoke reliable SSEPs. The direct brainstem SSEP technique allowed the surgeon to find safe corridors to incise the brainstem and resect the lesions.

CONCLUSIONS

Direct stimulation of brainstem sensory structures with successful recording of scalp SSEPs is feasible at low stimulation intensities. This innovative technique can help the neurosurgeon clarify distorted anatomy, identify safer incision sites from which to evacuate clots and CMs, and may help reduce postoperative neurological deficits. The technique needs further refinement, but could potentially be useful to map other brainstem lesions.

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Allen L. Ho, Eric S. Sussman, Arjun V. Pendharkar, Scheherazade Le, Alessandra Mantovani, Alaine C. Keebaugh, David R. Drover, Gerald A. Grant, Max Wintermark, and Casey H. Halpern

OBJECTIVE

MR-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy (MRgLITT) is a minimally invasive method for thermal destruction of benign or malignant tissue that has been used for selective amygdalohippocampal ablation for the treatment of temporal lobe epilepsy. The authors report their initial experience adopting a real-time MRI-guided stereotactic platform that allows for completion of the entire procedure in the MRI suite.

METHODS

Between October 2014 and May 2016, 17 patients with mesial temporal sclerosis were selected by a multidisciplinary epilepsy board to undergo a selective amygdalohippocampal ablation for temporal lobe epilepsy using MRgLITT. The first 9 patients underwent standard laser ablation in 2 phases (operating room [OR] and MRI suite), whereas the next 8 patients underwent laser ablation entirely in the MRI suite with the ClearPoint platform. A checklist specific to the real-time MRI-guided laser amydalohippocampal ablation was developed and used for each case. For both cohorts, clinical and operative information, including average case times and accuracy data, was collected and analyzed.

RESULTS

There was a learning curve associated with using this real-time MRI-guided system. However, operative times decreased in a linear fashion, as did total anesthesia time. In fact, the total mean patient procedure time was less in the MRI cohort (362.8 ± 86.6 minutes) than in the OR cohort (456.9 ± 80.7 minutes). The mean anesthesia time was significantly shorter in the MRI cohort (327.2 ± 79.9 minutes) than in the OR cohort (435.8 ± 78.4 minutes, p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

The real-time MRI platform for MRgLITT can be adopted in an expedient manner. Completion of MRgLITT entirely in the MRI suite may lead to significant advantages in procedural times.