Intraoperative subcortical electrical mapping of optic radiations in awake surgery for glioma involving visual pathways

Guillaume Gras-Combe, Sylvie Moritz-Gasser, Guillaume Herbet, Hugues Duffau
Journal of Neurosurgery 2012, 117 (3): 466-73

OBJECT: Preservation of the visual field in glioma surgery, especially avoidance of hemianopia, is crucial for patients' quality of life, particularly for driving. Recent studies used tractography or cortical occipital stimulation to try to avoid visual deficit. However, optic radiations have not been directly mapped intraoperatively. The authors present, for the first time to their knowledge, a consecutive series of awake surgeries for cerebral glioma with intrasurgical identification and preservation of visual pathways using subcortical electrical mapping.

METHODS: Fourteen patients underwent awake resection of a glioma (1 WHO Grade I, 11 WHO Grade II, 2 WHO Grade III) involving the optic radiations. The patients had no presurgical visual field deficit. Intraoperatively, a picture-naming task was used, with presentation of 2 objects situated diagonally on a screen divided into 4 quadrants. An image was presented in the quadrant to be saved and another image was presented in the opposite quadrant. Direct subcortical electrostimulation was repeatedly performed without the patient's knowledge, until optic radiations were identified (transient visual disturbances). All patients underwent an objective visual field assessment 3 months after surgery.

RESULTS: All patients experienced visual symptoms during stimulation. These disturbances led the authors to stop the tumor resection at that level. Postoperatively, only 1 patient had a permanent hemianopia, despite an expected quadrantanopia in 12 cases. The mean extent of resection was 93.6% (range 85%-100%).

CONCLUSIONS: Online identification of optic radiations by direct subcortical electrostimulation is a reliable and effective method to avoid permanent hemianopia in surgery for gliomas involving visual pathways.

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