A novel threshold criterion in transcranial motor evoked potentials during surgery for gliomas close to the motor pathway

  • OBJECTIVE Warning criteria for monitoring of motor evoked potentials (MEP) after direct cortical stimulation during surgery for supratentorial tumors have been well described. However, little is known about the value of MEP after transcranial electrical stimulation (TES) in predicting postoperative motor deficit when monitoring threshold level. The authors aimed to evaluate the feasibility and value of this method in glioma surgery by using a new approach for interpreting changes in threshold level involving contra- and ipsilateral MEP. METHODS Between November 2013 and December 2014, 93 patients underwent TES-MEP monitoring during resection of gliomas located close to central motor pathways but not involving the primary motor cortex. The MEP were elicited by transcranial repetitive anodal train stimulation. Bilateral MEP were continuously evaluated to assess percentage increase of threshold level (minimum voltage needed to evoke a stable motor response from each of the muscles being monitored) from the baseline set before dural opening. An increase in threshold level on the contralateral side (facial, arm, or leg muscles contralateral to the affected hemisphere) of more than 20% beyond the percentage increase on the ipsilateral side (facial, arm, or leg muscles ipsilateral to the affected hemisphere) was considered a significant alteration. Recorded alterations were subsequently correlated with postoperative neurological deterioration and MRI findings. RESULTS TES-MEP could be elicited in all patients, including those with recurrent glioma (31 patients) and preoperative paresis (20 patients). Five of 73 patients without preoperative paresis showed a significant increase in threshold level, and all of them developed new paresis postoperatively (transient in 4 patients and permanent in 1 patient). Eight of 20 patients with preoperative paresis showed a significant increase in threshold level, and all of them developed postoperative neurological deterioration (transient in 4 patients and permanent in 4 patients). In 80 patients no significant change in threshold level was detected, and none of them showed postoperative neurological deterioration. The specificity and sensitivity in this series were estimated at 100%. Postoperative MRI revealed gross-total tumor resection in 56 of 82 patients (68%) in whom complete tumor resection was attainable; territorial ischemia was detected in 4 patients. CONCLUSIONS The novel threshold criterion has made TES-MEP a useful method for predicting postoperative motor deficit in patients who undergo glioma surgery, and has been feasible in patients with preoperative paresis as well as in patients with recurrent glioma. Including contra- and ipsilateral changes in threshold level has led to a high sensitivity and specificity.

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