Strategies to maximize resection of complex, or high surgical risk, low-grade gliomas

Jessica A. Wilden, Jason Voorhies, Kristine M. Mosier, Darren P. O'Neill, Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


Object. Early and aggressive resection of low-grade gliomas (LGGs) leads to increased overall patient survival, decreased malignant progression, and better seizure control. This case series describes the authors' approach to achieving optimal neurological and surgical outcomes in patients referred by outside neurosurgeons for stereotactic biopsy of tumors believed to be complex or a high surgical risk, due to their diffuse nature on neuroimaging and their obvious infiltration of functional cortex. Methods. Seven patients underwent individualized neuroimaging evaluation preoperatively, which included routine brain MRI with and without contrast administration for intraoperative neuronavigation, functional MRI with speech and motor mapping, diffusion tensor imaging to delineate white matter tracts, and MR perfusion to identify potential foci of higher grade malignancy within the tumor. Awake craniotomy with intraoperative motor and speech mapping was performed in all patients. Tumor removal was initiated through a transsylvian approach for insular lesions, and through multiple corticotomies in stimulation-confirmed noneloquent areas for all other lesions. Resection was continued until neuronavigation indicated normal brain, cortical or subcortical stimulation revealed functional cortex, or the patient began to experience a minor neurological deficit on intraoperative testing. Results. Gross-total resection was achieved in 1 patient and subtotal resection (> 80%) in 6 patients, as assessed by postoperative MRI. Over the average follow-up duration of 31 months, no patient experienced a progression or recurrence. Long-term seizure control was excellent in 6 patients who achieved Engel Class I outcomes. Neurologically, all 7 patients experienced mild temporary deficits or seizures that completely resolved, and 1 patient continues to have mild expressive aphasia. Conclusions. Significant resection of diffuse, infiltrating LGGs is possible, even in presumed eloquent cortex. Aggressive resection maximizes seizure control and does not necessarily cause permanent neurological deficits. Individualized preoperative neuroimaging evaluation, including tractography and awake craniotomy with intraoperative speech and motor mapping, is an essential tool in achieving these outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberE5
JournalNeurosurgical focus
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2013


  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • Low-grade glioma
  • Microsurgical resection
  • Seizure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Medicine(all)

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