Role of Intraoperative Neurophysiologic Monitoring in the Resection of Thalamic Astrocytomas

Giorgio Carrabba, Giulio Bertani, Filippo Cogiamanian, Gianluca Ardolino, Barbara Zarino, Andrea Di Cristofori, Marco Locatelli, Manuela Caroli, Paolo Rampini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background The thalamus is a deep-seated and crucial structure for the sensorimotor system. It has been long considered a surgically inaccessible area because of the morbidity associated with surgical resections. Astrocytomas of the thalamus are usually treated with bioptic procedures followed by adjuvant treatments. Intraoperative neurophysiologic monitoring (IONM) allows safe and satisfactory resections of lobar gliomas, but few data are available for thalamic lesions. The aim of this study was to review the outcome of a small series of patients with thalamic astrocytomas that were treated with surgical resection with the aid of IONM. Methods Surgical resection with IONM was performed in 5 patients with thalamic astrocytomas (1 grade I, 1 grade II, 2 grade III, 1 grade IV). Two astrocytomas were in the dominant hemisphere. Preoperative and postoperative neuropsychological assessments were performed in 3 patients. IONM was tailored to the individual patient and consisted of transcranial motor evoked potential monitoring, cortical motor evoked potential monitoring, somatosensory evoked potential monitoring, direct electrical stimulation, electroencephalography, and electrocorticography. Results None of the patients experienced permanent motor deficits; 2 patients had a transient hemiparesis requiring rehabilitation; 1 patient had a transient aphasia, and 1 patient had permanent aphasia. None of the patients had intraoperative seizures, but 1 patient experienced postoperative transient status epilepticus. The extent of resection on postoperative volumetric magnetic resonance imaging was >70% in all cases. Conclusions Surgical resection of thalamic astrocytomas appeared to be effective and relatively safe when guided by IONM. Larger series of patients are required to confirm these preliminary data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-56
Number of pages7
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Brain mapping
  • Glioma surgery
  • Gliomas
  • Neurophysiologic monitoring
  • Thalamic glioma
  • Thalamus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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