Strategies for the return of behavioral surgery

Sam Eljamel

Date of publication: 14-Jan-2012

Background:Behavioral surgery (BS) is resurging because of unmet clinical need, advances in basic sciences, neuroimaging, neurostimulation, and stereotaxy. However, there is a danger that BS will fall unless acceptable strategies are adopted by BS providers.

The amygdala as a target for behavior surgery

Jean-Philippe Langevin

Date of publication: 14-Jan-2012

Abstract

The amygdala was a popular target during the era of psychosurgery, specifically for the treatment of intractable aggression. This mesiotemporal structure was thought to primarily mediate fear and anger. However, recent evidence suggests that the amygdala is part of a complex network that mediates the formation of a larger repertoire of positive and negative emotions. Dysfunctions within the network or the amygdala itself can lead to various mental illnesses. In those cases, deep brain stimulation (DBS) applied focally may treat the symptoms. This review presents data supporting the potential therapeutic role of DBS of the amygdala in the treatment of anxiety disorders, addiction, and mood disorders. The success of DBS for psychiatric conditions will likely depend on our ability to precisely determine the optimal target for a specific case.

Vagus nerve stimulation for epilepsy: A review of the peripheral mechanisms

Scott E. Krahl

Date of publication: 14-Jan-2012

Abstract

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a unique epilepsy treatment in that a peripheral intervention is used to treat a disease that is entirely related to pathological events occurring within the brain. To understand how stimulation of the vagus nerve can be used to stop seizures, an understanding of the peripheral anatomy and physiology of the vagus nerve is essential. The peripheral aspects of the vagus nerve are discussed in this review, with an explanation of which fibers and branches are involved in producing these antiepileptic effects, along with speculation about the potential for improving the therapy.

Stereotactic radiosurgery for movement disorders

Leonardo Frighetto, Jorge Bizzi, Rafael D’Agostini Annes, Rodrigo dos Santos Silva, Paulo Oppitz

Date of publication: 14-Jan-2012

Abstract

Initially designed for the treatment of functional brain targets, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) has achieved an important role in the management of a wide range of neurosurgical pathologies. The interest in the application of the technique for the treatment of pain, and psychiatric and movement disorders has returned in the beginning of the 1990s, stimulated by the advances in neuroimaging, computerized dosimetry, treatment planning software systems, and the outstanding results of radiosurgery in other brain diseases. Since SRS is a neuroimaging-guided procedure, without the possibility of neurophysiological confirmation of the target, deep brain stimulation (DBS) and radiofrequency procedures are considered the best treatment options for movement-related disorders. Therefore, SRS is an option for patients who are not suitable for an open neurosurgical procedure. SRS thalamotomy provided results in tremor control, comparable to radiofrequency and DBS. The occurrence of unpredictable larger lesions than expected with permanent neurological deficits is a limitation of the procedure. Improvements in SRS technique with dose reduction, use of a single isocenter, and smaller collimators were made to reduce the incidence of this serious complication. Pallidotomies performed with radiosurgery did not achieve the same good results. Even though the development of DBS has supplanted lesioning as the first alternative in movement disorder surgery; SRS might still be the only treatment option for selected patients.

Pitfalls in precision stereotactic surgery

Ludvic Zrinzo

Date of publication: 14-Jan-2012

Abstract

Precision is the ultimate aim of stereotactic technique. Demands on stereotactic precision reach a pinnacle in stereotactic functional neurosurgery. Pitfalls are best avoided by possessing in-depth knowledge of the techniques employed and the equipment used. The engineering principles of arc-centered stereotactic frames maximize surgical precision at the target, irrespective of the surgical trajectory, and provide the greatest degree of surgical precision in current clinical practice. Stereotactic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides a method of visualizing intracranial structures and fiducial markers on the same image without introducing significant errors during an image fusion process. Although image distortion may potentially limit the utility of stereotactic MRI, near-complete distortion correction can be reliably achieved with modern machines. Precision is dependent on minimizing errors at every step of the stereotactic procedure. These steps are considered in turn and include frame application, image acquisition, image manipulation, surgical planning of target and trajectory, patient positioning and the surgical procedure itself. Audit is essential to monitor and improve performance in clinical practice. The level of stereotactic precision is best analyzed by routine postoperative stereotactic MRI. This allows the stereotactic and anatomical location of the intervention to be compared with the anatomy and coordinates of the intended target, avoiding significant image fusion errors.

Trends and importance of radiosurgery for the development of functional neurosurgery

Douglas Kondziolka, John C. Flickinger, Ajay Niranjan, L. Dade Lunsford

Date of publication: 14-Jan-2012

Abstract

Functional neurosurgery includes surgery conducted to ablate, augment, or modulate targets that lead to improvement in neurological function or behavior. Surgical approaches for this purpose include destructive lesioning with different mechanical or biologic agents or energy sources, non-destructive electrical modulation, and cellular or chemical augmentation. Our purpose was to review the role of stereotactic radiosurgery used for functional indications and to discuss future applications and potential techniques. Imaging and neurophysiological research will enable surgeons to consider new targets and circuits that may be clinically important. Radiosurgery is one minimal access approach to those targets.