Awake mapping for low-grade gliomas involving the left sagittal stratum: anatomofunctional and surgical considerations

Emilie Chan-Seng, Sylvie Moritz-Gasser, Hugues Duffau
Journal of Neurosurgery 2014, 120 (5): 1069-77

OBJECT: Preserving function while optimizing the extent of resection is the main goal in surgery for diffuse low-grade glioma (DLGG). This is particularly relevant for DLGG involving the sagittal stratum (SS), where damage can have severe consequences. Indeed, this structure is a major crossroad in which several important fascicles run. Thus, its complex functional anatomy is still poorly understood. Subcortical electrical stimulation during awake surgery provides a unique opportunity to investigate white matter pathways. This study reports the findings on anatomofunctional correlations evoked by stimulation during resection for gliomas involving the left SS. Surgical outcomes are also detailed.

METHODS: The authors performed a review of patients who underwent awake surgery for histopathologically confirmed WHO Grade II glioma involving the left SS in the neurosurgery department between August 2008 and August 2012. Information regarding clinicoradiological features, surgical procedures, and outcomes was collected and analyzed. Intraoperative electrostimulation was used to map the eloquent structures within the SS.

RESULTS: Eight consecutive patients were included in this study. There were 6 men and 2 women, whose mean age was 41.7 years (range 32-61 years). Diagnosis was made because of seizures in 7 cases and slight language disorders in 1 case. After cortical mapping, subcortical stimulation detected functional fibers running in the SS in all patients: semantic paraphasia was generated by stimulating the inferior frontooccipital fascicle in 8 cases; alexia was elicited by stimulating the inferior longitudinal fascicle in 3 cases; visual disorders were induced by stimulating the optic radiations in 5 cases. Moreover, in front of the SS, phonemic paraphasia was evoked by stimulating the temporal part of the arcuate fascicle in 5 patients. The resection was stopped according to these functional limits in the 8 patients. After a transient postsurgical worsening, all patients recovered to normal results on examination, except for the persistence of a right superior quadrantanopia in 5 cases, with no consequences for quality of life. The 8 patients returned to a normal social and professional life. Total or subtotal resection was achieved in all cases but one.

CONCLUSIONS: The authors suggest that the use of intrasurgical electrical mapping of the white matter pathways in awake patients opens the door to extensive resection of DLGG within the left SS while preserving the quality of life. Further anatomical, clinical, radiological, and electrophysiological studies are needed for a better understanding of the functional anatomy of this complex region.

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