Insular gliomas represent a unique surgical challenge due to the complex anatomy and nearby vascular elements associated within the Sylvian fissure. For certain tumors, the transsylvian approach provides an effective technique for achieving maximal safe resection.
Advances in microsurgical anatomy and brain mapping techniques have allowed an increase in the extent of resection with acceptable morbidity rates. Transsylvian and transcortical approaches constitute the main surgical corridors, the latter providing considerable advantages and a high degree of reliability. Nevertheless, both surgical corridors yield remarkable difficulties in reaching the most posterior insular region.
Small deep infarcts constitute a well-known risk of motor and speech deficit in insulo-opercular glioma surgery. However, the risk of cognitive deterioration in relation to stroke occurrence in so-called silent areas is poorly known.
In a paper, Loit et al. propose to build a distribution map of small deep infarcts in glioma surgery, and to analyze patients' cognitive outcome in relation to stroke occurrence.
They retrospectively studied a consecutive series of patients operated on for a diffuse glioma between June 2011and June 2017. Patients with lower-grade glioma were cognitively assessed, both before and 4 months after surgery. Areas of decreased apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) on the immediate postoperative MRI were segmented. All images were registered in the MNI reference by ANTS algorithm, allowing to build a distribution map of the strokes. Stroke occurrence was correlated with the postoperative changes in semantic fluency score in the lower-grade glioma cohort.
One hundred fifteen patients were included. Areas of reduced ADC were observed in 27 out of 54 (50%) patients with a lower-grade glioma, and 25 out of 61 (41%) patients with a glioblastoma. Median volume was 1.6 cc. The distribution map revealed five clusters of deep strokes, corresponding respectively to callosal, prefrontal, insulo-opercular, parietal, and temporal tumor locations. No motor nor speech long-term deficits were caused by these strokes. Cognitive evaluations at 4 months showed that the presence of small infarcts correlated with a slight decrease of semantic fluency scores.
Deep small infarcts are commonly found after glioma surgery, but their actual impact in terms of patients' quality of life remains to be demonstrated. Further studies are needed to better evaluate the cognitive consequences-if any-for each of the described hotspots and to identify risk factors other than the surgery-induced damage of microvessels 1).