The aim of this study was to compare the accuracy of optical frameless neuronavigation (ON) and robot-assisted (RA) stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) electrode placement in children, and to identify factors that might increase the risk of misplacement.
The authors undertook a retrospective review of all children who underwent SEEG at their institution. Twenty children were identified who underwent stereotactic placement of a total of 218 electrodes. Six procedures were performed using ON and 14 were placed using a robotic assistant. Placement error was calculated at cortical entry and at the target by calculating the Euclidean distance between the electrode and the planned cortical entry and target points. The Mann-Whitney U-test was used to compare the results for ON and RA placement accuracy. For each electrode placed using robotic assistance, extracranial soft-tissue thickness, bone thickness, and intracranial length were measured. Entry angle of electrode to bone was calculated using stereotactic coordinates. A stepwise linear regression model was used to test for variables that significantly influenced placement error.
Between 8 and 17 electrodes (median 10 electrodes) were placed per patient. Median target point localization error was 4.5 mm (interquartile range [IQR] 2.8–6.1 mm) for ON and 1.07 mm (IQR 0.71–1.59) for RA placement. Median entry point localization error was 5.5 mm (IQR 4.0–6.4) for ON and 0.71 mm (IQR 0.47–1.03) for RA placement. The difference in accuracy between Stealth-guided (ON) and RA placement was highly significant for both cortical entry point and target (p < 0.0001 for both). Increased soft-tissue thickness and intracranial length reduced accuracy at the target. Increased soft-tissue thickness, bone thickness, and younger age reduced accuracy at entry. There were no complications.
RA stereotactic electrode placement is highly accurate and is significantly more accurate than ON. Larger safety margins away from vascular structures should be used when placing deep electrodes in young children and for trajectories that pass through thicker soft tissues such as the temporal region.