New Philosophy, Clinical Pearls, and Methods for Intraoperative Cognition Mapping and Monitoring "à la carte" in Brain Tumor Patients

Neurosurgery. 2021 Apr 15;88(5):919-930. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyaa363.

Abstract

The purpose of surgery for brain tumors involving eloquent neural circuits is to maximize the extent of resection while preserving an optimal quality of life. To this end, especially in diffuse glioma, the goal is to remove the cerebral parenchyma invaded by the neoplasm up to the individual cortico-subcortical networks critical for brain functions. Intraoperative mapping combined with real-time cognitive monitoring throughout the resection in awake patient is thus highly recommended to resume a normal life. Indeed, beyond avoiding hemiplegia or aphasia, enjoying a familial, social, and professional life implies that motor and language mapping is not sufficient. Identifying and sparing neural networks that subserve cognition (movement control, visuospatial cognition, executive functions, multimodal semantics, metacognition) and mentalizing (theory of mind, which plays a key role for social cognition) is essential to preserve an adapted behavior. Here, the aim is to review when and how to map these critical functions, which have nonetheless been neglected for many decades by neurosurgeons. In fact, the disorders generated by surgical injuries of circuits underpinning nonmotor and nonspeech functions are usually not immediately visible on postoperative standard clinical examination, leading the physician to believe that the patient has no deficit. Yet, cognitive or emotional disturbances may subsequently prevent to resume an active life, as to work full time. Therefore, a systematic neuropsychological assessment should be performed before, during, and after mapping-guided surgery, regardless of the tumor location, to preserve the functional connectome intraoperatively and to plan a postoperative tailored cognitive rehabilitation according to the patient's needs.

Keywords: Awake surgery; Cognitive monitoring; Diffuse glioma; Functional mapping; Neuroplasticity; Quality of life; Subcortical connectivity.

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain / surgery
  • Brain Neoplasms* / physiopathology
  • Brain Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Connectome*
  • Executive Function / physiology
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Neurophysiological Monitoring*
  • Neurosurgical Procedures*
  • Quality of Life