OBJECTIVE. To effectively combine functional MRI (fMRI), diffusion tensor tractography (both guided by neuronavigation) along with cortical stimulation (CS) for surgery of eloquent cortex (EC) lesions. MATERIALS AND METHOds. Fifteen patients with lesions adjacent to the eloquent motor and sensory cortex were included. Preoperative fMRI and diffusion tensor imaging were performed and then integrated into the neuronavigation system. Intraoperative CS of sensory/motor cortex was performed to localize the EC under awake condition and this was correlated with areas active on fMRI utilizing neuronavigation. For excision of the deeper structures, CS, and tractography guided by neuronavigation were utilized. RESULTS. A total of 127 cortical sites were evaluated with CS in 15 patients. The overall sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of fMRI were 79%, 85%, and 82%, respectively, keeping the areas positive on CS as a referential parameter. Tractography helped in resecting the deeper areas of the tumor, but was not very accurate due to brain shift. However, it was useful in roughly assessing the deeper areas close to the long tracts. The risk of developing persistent neurological deficits was 6%. Pathologies included gliomas in ten patients, cavernous malformation in two patients, meningioma in one patient, and focal cortical dysplasia and Dysembryonic neuroepithelial tumor in one patient each. Near total excision was achieved in 7/10 (> 95% excision) gliomas and a total excision in all others lesions. CONCLUSIONS. Lesions directly over the EC present a special surgical challenge. The challenge lies in excising these lesions without producing any deficits. These goals may be achieved better by combined use of multimodal neuronavigation (fMRI and tractography) and intraoperative mapping with CS under awake conditions.
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