Frameless stereotactic placement of depth electrodes in epilepsy surgery

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Object. Depth electrodes are useful in the identification of deep epileptogenic foci. Computerized tomography—magnetic resonance (CT/MR)— and angiography-guided frame-based techniques are safe and accurate but require four-point skull fixation that limits cranial access for the placement of additional grids and strips. The authors investigated the viability and accuracy of placing depth electrodes by using a commercially available frameless system.

Methods. A slotted, custom-designed adapter was built to interface with the StealthStation Guide Frame-DT and 960-525 StealthFighter. The Cranial Navigation software was used to plan the trajectory and entry site based on preoperative spoiled gradient MR imaging studies. Forty-one depth electrodes were placed in 51 targets in 20 patients. Thirty-one of these electrodes were inserted through the temporal neocortex following craniotomy and placement of subdural grids, whereas 10 were placed through burr holes. All electrodes had contact either within (71%) or touching (29%) the target, 50 of which (98%) provided adequate recordings. Although the mean distance of the distal electrode contact from the intended target was 3.1 ± 0.5 mm, the mean distance to the edge of the anatomical structure was 0.4 ± 0.9 mm. Placement via the laterotemporal approach was significantly (p < 0.001) more accurate than that via the occipitotemporal approach. No complication occurred.

Conclusions. Depth electrodes can be placed safely and accurately by using a commercially available frameless stereotactic navigation system and a custom-made adapter. Depth electrode placement to record ictal onsets during epilepsy surgery only requires the contacts to touch rather than to reside within the intended structure. The laterotemporal approach is a more accurate method of placing electrodes than is the occipitotemporal one, likely due to the increased distance from the entry point to the target.

Article Information

Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Theodore H. Schwartz, M.D., Department of Neurological Surgery, Weill Medical Center of Cornell University, 525 East 68th Street, Box 99, New York, New York 10021. email: schwarh@med.cornell.edu.

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