Isabel Fernández-Conejero and Vedran Deletis
Eiji Ito, Masahiro Ichikawa, Takeshi Itakura, Hitoshi Ando, Yuka Matsumoto, Keiko Oda, Taku Sato, Tadashi Watanabe, Jun Sakuma and Kiyoshi Saito
Dysphasia is one of the most serious complications of skull base surgeries and results from damage to the brainstem and/or cranial nerves involved in swallowing. Here, the authors propose a method to monitor the function of the vagus nerve using endotracheal tube surface electrodes and transcranial electrical stimulation during skull base surgeries.
Fifteen patients with skull base or brainstem tumors were enrolled. The authors used surface electrodes of an endotracheal tube to record compound electromyographic responses from the vocalis muscle. Motor neurons were stimulated using corkscrew electrodes placed subdermally on the scalp at C3 and C4. During surgery, the operator received a warning when the amplitude of the vagal motor evoked potential (MEP) decreased to less than 50% of the control level. After surgery, swallowing function was assessed clinically using grading criteria.
In 5 patients, vagal MEP amplitude permanently deteriorated to less than 50% of the control level on the right side when meningiomas were dissected from the pons or basilar artery, or when a schwannoma was dissected from the vagal rootlets. These 5 patients had postoperative dysphagia. At 4 weeks after surgery, 2 patients still had dysphagia. In 2 patients, vagal MEPs of one side transiently disappeared when the tumors were dissected from the brainstem or the vagal rootlets. After surgery, both patients had dysphagia, which recovered in 4 weeks. In 7 patients, MEP amplitude was consistent, maintaining more than 50% of the control level throughout the operative procedures. After surgery all 7 patients were neurologically intact with normal swallowing function.
Vagal MEP monitoring with transcranial electrical stimulation and endotracheal tube electrode recording was a safe and effective method to provide continuous real-time information on the integrity of both the supranuclear and infranuclear vagal pathway. This method is useful to prevent intraoperative injury of the brainstem corticobulbar tract or the vagal rootlets and to avoid the postoperative dysphagia that is often associated with brainstem or skull base surgeries.
Jun Sakuma, Kyouichi Suzuki, Tatsuya Sasaki, Masato Matsumoto, Masahiro Oinuma, Masahisa Kawakami, Takeshi Itakura and Namio Kodama
✓ The authors report a case in which anterior choroidal artery (AChA) blood flow insufficiency due to aneurysm clip rotation was detected intraoperatively by motor evoked potential (MEP) monitoring and ischemia was successfully avoided.
The patient had an incidentally discovered aneurysm for which occlusion of its neck was performed through a standard frontotemporal craniotomy without changing the MEP amplitude. After it was confirmed that the surrounding arteries were not stenotic, the brain retractor on the frontal lobe was released; MEP amplitude subsequently decreased. Rotation of the clip toward the frontal base by repositioning of the frontal lobe caused the AChA stenosis at the origin of its branches. On reorienting the clip toward the frontal lobe, the AChA stenosis was released and MEP amplitude recovered. To prevent repeated clip rotation, a large amount of gelatin (Spongel) was inserted between the frontal base and the clip. The authors confirmed that clip rotation did not occur after repositioning of the frontal lobe. Motor evoked potential amplitude was maintained until dural closure. Postoperatively, the patient demonstrated no neurological deficit and there was no newly developed low-density area on computerized tomography scans.
Tatsuya Sasaki, Takeshi Itakura, Kyouichi Suzuki, Hiromichi Kasuya, Ryoji Munakata, Hiroyuki Muramatsu, Tsuyoshi Ichikawa, Taku Sato, Yuji Endo, Jun Sakuma and Masato Matsumoto
To obtain a clinically useful method of intraoperative monitoring of visual evoked potentials (VEPs), the authors developed a new light-stimulating device and introduced electroretinography (ERG) to ascertain retinal light stimulation after induction of venous anesthesia.
The new stimulating device consists of 16 red light–emitting diodes embedded in a soft silicone disc to avoid deviation of the light axis after frontal scalp-flap reflection. After induction of venous anesthesia with propofol, the authors performed ERG and VEP recording in 100 patients (200 eyes) who were at intraoperative risk for visual impairment.
Stable ERG and VEP recordings were obtained in 187 eyes. In 12 eyes, stable ERG data were recorded but VEPs could not be obtained, probably because all 12 eyes manifested severe preoperative visual dysfunction. The disappearance of ERG data and VEPs in the 13th eye after frontal scalp-flap reflection suggested technical failure attributable to deviation of the light axis. The criterion for amplitude changes was defined as a 50% increase or decrease in amplitude compared with the control level. In 1 of 187 eyes the authors observed an increase in intraoperative amplitude and postoperative visual function improvement. Of 169 eyes without amplitude changes, 17 manifested improved visual function postoperatively, 150 showed no change, and 2 worsened (1 patient with a temporal tumor developed a slight visual field defect in both eyes). Of 3 eyes with intraoperative VEP deterioration and subsequent recovery upon changing the operative maneuver, 1 improved and 2 exhibited no change. The VEP amplitude decreased without subsequent recovery to 50% of the control level in 14 eyes, and all of these developed various degrees of postoperative deterioration of visual function.
With the strategy introduced here it is possible to record intraoperative VEPs in almost all patients except in those with severe visual dysfunction. In some patients, postoperative visual deterioration can be avoided or minimized by intraoperative VEP recording. All patients without an intraoperative decrease in the VEP amplitude were without severe postoperative deterioration in visual function, suggesting that intraoperative VEP monitoring may contribute to prevent postoperative visual dysfunction.
Kazuomi Horiuchi, Kyouichi Suzuki, Tatsuya Sasaki, Masato Matsumoto, Jun Sakuma, Yutaka Konno, Masahiro Oinuma, Takeshi Itakura and Namio Kodama
Object. The usefulness of motor evoked potential (MEP) monitoring to detect blood flow insufficiency (BFI) in the cortical branches of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) and lenticulostriate arteries (LSAs) during MCA aneurysm surgery was investigated based on the correlation between MEP and somatosensory evoked potential (SEP) monitoring.
Methods. Fifty-three patients with MCA aneurysms underwent surgery accompanied by intraoperative MEP and SEP monitoring. There was no postoperative motor paresis in 43 patients in whom MEP and SEP results remained unchanged. In the other 10 patients, nine manifested transient MEP changes; in five of these, SEP changes did not occur. The transient MEP changes were thought to be attributable to BFI of the MCA cortical branches in two patients, the LSA in three, and either the MCA branches or the LSA in four patients. Of these nine patients, six did not present with postoperative motor paresis; transient motor paresis was recognized in the other three. In the 10th patient, MEP waves disappeared and did not recover. This patient's SEPs remained at 70% of the control level, and he developed severe hemiparesis. A postoperative computerized tomography scan revealed a new low-density area in the corona radiata and putamen.
Conclusions. Blood flow insufficiency in both the LSA and MCA cortical branches that perfuse the corticospinal tract can be detected by intraoperative MEP monitoring. Somatosensory evoked potential monitoring is not reliable enough to detect BFI in the MCA branches and the LSAs.