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M. Beatriz S. Lopes

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Erez Nossek, Idit Matot, Tal Shahar, Ori Barzilai, Yoni Rapoport, Tal Gonen, Gal Sela, Akiva Korn, Daniel Hayat and Zvi Ram

Object

Awake craniotomy for removal of intraaxial tumors within or adjacent to eloquent brain regions is a well-established procedure. However, awake craniotomy failures have not been well characterized. In the present study, the authors aimed to analyze and assess the incidence and causes for failed awake craniotomy.

Methods

The database of awake craniotomies performed at Tel Aviv Medical Center between 2003 and 2010 was reviewed. Awake craniotomy was considered a failure if conversion to general anesthesia was required, or if adequate mapping or monitoring could not have been achieved.

Results

Of 488 patients undergoing awake craniotomy, 424 were identified as having complete medical, operative, and anesthesiology records. The awake craniotomies performed in 27 (6.4%) of these 424 patients were considered failures. The main causes of failure were lack of intraoperative communication with the patient (n = 18 [4.2%]) and/or intraoperative seizures (n = 9 [2.1%]). Preoperative mixed dysphasia (p < 0.001) and treatment with phenytoin (p = 0.0019) were related to failure due to lack of communication. History of seizures (p = 0.03) and treatment with multiple antiepileptic drugs (p = 0.0012) were found to be related to failure due to intraoperative seizures. Compared with the successful awake craniotomy group, a significantly lower rate of gross-total resection was achieved (83% vs 54%, p = 0.008), there was a higher incidence of short-term speech deterioration postoperatively (6.1% vs 23.5%, p = 0.0017) as well as at 3 months postoperatively (2.3% vs 15.4%, p = 0.0002), and the hospitalization period was longer (4.9 ± 6.2 days vs 8.0 ± 10.1 days, p < 0.001). Significantly more major complications occurred in the failure group (4 [14.8%] of 27) than in the successful group (16 [4%] of 397) (p = 0.037).

Conclusions

Failures of awake craniotomy were associated with a lower incidence of gross-total resection and increased postoperative morbidity. The majority of awake craniotomy failures were preventable by adequate patient selection and avoiding side effects of drugs administered during surgery.

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Tal Shahar, Akiva Korn, Gal Barkay, Tali Biron, Amir Hadanny, Tomer Gazit, Erez Nossek, Margaret Ekstein, Anat Kesler and Zvi Ram

OBJECTIVE

Resection of intraaxial tumors adjacent to the optic radiation (OR) may be associated with postoperative visual field (VF) deficits. Intraoperative navigation using MRI-based tractography and electrophysiological monitoring of the visual pathways may allow maximal resection while preserving visual function. In this study, the authors evaluated the value of visual pathway mapping in a series of patients undergoing awake craniotomy for tumor resection.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data was conducted in 18 patients who underwent an awake craniotomy for resection of intraaxial tumors involving or adjacent to the OR. Preoperative MRI-based tractography was used for intraoperative navigation, and intraoperative acquisition of 3D ultrasonography images was performed for real-time imaging and correction of brain shift. Goggles with light-emitting diodes were used as a standard visual stimulus. Direct cortical visual evoked potential (VEP) recording, subcortical recordings from the OR, and subcortical stimulation of the OR were used intraoperatively to assess visual function and proximity of the lesion to the OR. VFs were assessed pre- and postoperatively.

RESULTS

Baseline cortical VEP recordings were available for 14 patients (77.7%). No association was found between preoperative VF status and baseline presence of cortical VEPs (p = 0.27). Five of the 14 patients (35.7%) who underwent subcortical stimulation of the OR reported seeing phosphenes in the corresponding contralateral VF. There was a positive correlation (r = 0.899, p = 0.04) between the subcortical threshold stimulation intensity (3–11.5 mA) and the distance from the OR. Subcortical recordings from the OR demonstrated a typical VEP waveform in 10 of the 13 evaluated patients (76.9%). These waveforms were present only when recordings were obtained within 10 mm of the OR (p = 0.04). Seven patients (38.9%) had postoperative VF deterioration, and it was associated with a length of < 8 mm between the tumor and the OR (p = 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Intraoperative electrophysiological monitoring of the visual pathways is feasible but may be of limited value in preserving the functional integrity of the posterior visual pathways. Subcortical stimulation of the OR may identify the location of the OR when done in proximity to the pathways, but such proximity may be associated with increased risk of postoperative worsening of the VF deficit.

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Tal Shahar, Uri Rozovski, Yuval Shapira, Erez Nossek, Bracha Zelikovich, Joseph Jossiphov, Zvi Ram, Andrew A. Kanner, Tali Siegal, Deborah T. Blumenthal and Iris Lavon

The differential diagnosis of a brain lesion with two discordant pathology reports includes the presence of collision tumor, metaplastic changes, and labeling errors that occurred during the processing of the specimen. The authors present a case in which the first brain biopsy from a 47-year-old patient with a history of heavy smoking was compatible with metastatic small cell carcinoma, and the second biopsy taken during decompression craniotomy 3 weeks later was compatible with WHO Grade IV glioblastoma. Using short tandem repeat (STR) analysis of the two specimens and nontumor-derived patient DNA, the authors found that the two specimens did not belong to the same individual. The authors conclude that allele imbalance or loss of heterozygosity detected by STR analysis is a reliable and valuable diagnostic tool for clarifying discrepancies in discordant pathology reports.

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Erez Nossek, Akiva Korn, Tal Shahar, Andrew A. Kanner, Hillary Yaffe, Daniel Marcovici, Carmit Ben-Harosh, Haim Ben Ami, Maya Weinstein, Irit Shapira-Lichter, Shlomi Constantini, Talma Hendler and Zvi Ram

Object

Preserving motor function is a major challenge in surgery for intraaxial brain tumors. Navigation systems are unreliable in predicting the location of the corticospinal tracts (CSTs) because of brain shift and the inability of current intraoperative systems to produce reliable diffusion tensor imaging data. The authors describe their experience with elaborate neurophysiological assessment and tractography-based navigation, corrected in real time by 3D intraoperative ultrasonography (IOUS) to identify motor pathways during subcortical tumor resection.

Methods

A retrospective analysis was conducted in 55 patients undergoing resection of tumors located within or in proximity to the CSTs at the authors' institution between November 2007 and June 2009. Corticospinal tract tractography was coregistered to surgical navigation-derived images in 42 patients. Direct cortical-stimulated motor evoked potentials (dcMEPs) and subcortical-stimulated MEPs (scrtMEPs) were recorded intraoperatively to assess function and estimate the distance from the CSTs. Intraoperative ultrasonography updated the navigation imaging and estimated resection proximity to the CSTs. Preoperative clinical motor function was compared with postoperative outcome at several time points and correlated with incidences of intraoperative dcMEP alarm and low scrtMEP values.

Results

The threshold level needed to elicit scrtMEPs was plotted against the distance to the CSTs based on diffusion tensor imaging tractography after brain shift compensation with 3D IOUS, generating a trend line that demonstrated a linear order between these variables, and a relationship of 0.97 mA for every 1 mm of brain tissue distance from the CSTs. Clinically, 39 (71%) of 55 patients had no postoperative deficits, and 9 of the remaining 16 improved to baseline function within 1 month. Seven patients had varying degrees of permanent motor deficits. Subcortical stimulation was applied in 45 of the procedures. The status of 32 patients did not deteriorate postoperatively (stable or improved motor status): 27 of them (84%) displayed minimum scrtMEP thresholds > 7 mA. Six patients who experienced postoperative deterioration quickly recovered (within 5 days) and displayed minimum scrtMEP thresholds > 6.8 mA. Five of the 7 patients who had late (> 5 days postoperatively) or no recovery had minimal scrtMEP thresholds < 3 mA. An scrtMEP threshold of 3 mA was found to be the cutoff point below which irreversible disruption of CST integrity may be anticipated (sensitivity 83%, specificity 95%).

Conclusions

Combining elaborate neurophysiological assessment, tractography-based neuronavigation, and updated IOUS images provided accurate localization of the CSTs and enabled the safe resection of tumors approximating these tracts. This is the first attempt to evaluate the distance from the CSTs using the threshold of subcortical monopolar stimulation with real-time IOUS for the correction of brain shift. The linear correlation between the distance to the CSTs and the threshold of subcortical stimulation producing a motor response provides an intraoperative technique to better preserve motor function.