Awake craniotomy for brain tumors near eloquent cortex: correlation of intraoperative cortical mapping with neurological outcomes in 309 consecutive patients

Stefan S Kim, Ian E McCutcheon, Dima Suki, Jeffrey S Weinberg, Raymond Sawaya, Frederick F Lang, David Ferson, Amy B Heimberger, Franco DeMonte, Sujit S Prabhu
Neurosurgery 2009, 64 (5): 836-45; discussion 345-6

OBJECTIVE: Intraoperative localization of cortical areas for motor and language function has been advocated to minimize postoperative neurological deficits. We report herein the results of a retrospective study of cortical mapping and subsequent clinical outcomes in a large series of patients.

METHODS: Patients with intracerebral tumors near and/or within eloquent cortices (n = 309) were clinically evaluated before surgery, immediately after, and 1 month and 3 months after surgery. Craniotomy was tailored to encompass tumor plus adjacent areas presumed to contain eloquent cortex. Intraoperative cortical stimulation for language, motor, and/or sensory function was performed in all patients to safely maximize surgical resection.

RESULTS: A gross total resection (> or =95%) was obtained in 64%, and a resection of 85% or more was obtained in 77% of the procedures. Eloquent areas were identified in 65% of cases, and in that group, worsened neurological deficits were observed in 21% of patients, whereas only 9% with negative mapping sustained such deficits (P < 0.01). Intraoperative neurological deficits occurred in 64 patients (21%); of these, 25 (39%) experienced worsened neurological outcome at 1 month, whereas only 27 of 245 patients (11%) without intraoperative changes had such outcomes (P < 0.001). At 1 month, 83% overall showed improved or stable neurological status, whereas 17% had new or worse deficits; however, at 3 months, 7% of patients had a persistent neurological deficit. Extent of resection less than 95% also predicted worsening of neurological status (P < 0.025).

CONCLUSION: Negative mapping of eloquent areas provides a safe margin for surgical resection with a low incidence of neurological deficits. However, identification of eloquent areas not only failed to eliminate but rather increased the risk of postoperative deficits, likely indicating close proximity of functional cortex to tumor.

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