Child's Nervous System

, Volume 31, Issue 11, pp 2055–2062 | Cite as

The role of early intra-operative MRI in partial resection of optic pathway/hypothalamic gliomas in children

  • Christopher Paul MillwardEmail author
  • Sandra Perez Da Rosa
  • Shivaram Avula
  • Jonathan R. Ellenbogen
  • Michaela Spiteri
  • Emma Lewis
  • Mo Didi
  • Conor Mallucci
Original Paper



Optic pathway/hypothalamic gliomas (OPHGs) are generally benign but situated in an exquisitely sensitive brain region. They follow an unpredictable course and are usually impossible to resect completely. We present a case series of 10 patients who underwent surgery for OPHGs with the aid of intra-operative MRI (ioMRI). The impact of ioMRI on OPHG resection is presented, and a role for ioMRI in partial resection is discussed.


Ten patients with OPHGs managed surgically utilising ioMRI at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital between 2010 and 2013 were retrospectively identified. Demographic and relevant clinical data were obtained.

MRI was used to estimate tumour volume pre-operatively and post-resection. If ioMRI demonstrated that further resection was possible, second-look surgery, at the discretion of the operating surgeon, was performed, followed by post-operative imaging to establish the final status of resection. Tumour volume was estimated for each MR image using the MRIcron software package.


Control of tumour progression was achieved in all patients. Seven patients had, on table, second-look surgery with significant further tumour resection following ioMRI without any surgically related mortality or morbidity. The median additional quantity of tumour removed following second-look surgery, as a percentage of the initial total volume, was 27.79 % (range 11.2–59.2 %). The final tumour volume remaining with second-look surgery was 23.96 vs. 33.21 % without (p = 0.1).


OPHGs are technically difficult to resect due to their eloquent location, making them suitable for debulking resection only. IoMRI allows surgical goals to be reassessed intra-operatively following primary resection. Second-look surgery can be performed if possible and necessary and allows significant quantities of extra tumour to be resected safely. Although the clinical significance of additional tumour resection is not yet clear, we suggest that ioMRI is a safe and useful additional tool, to be combined with advanced neuronavigation techniques for partial tumour resection.


Intra-operative MRI Optic pathway Hypothalamic Glioma 


Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflict of interest concerning the materials or methods used in this study or the findings specified in this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Paul Millward
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sandra Perez Da Rosa
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shivaram Avula
    • 1
  • Jonathan R. Ellenbogen
    • 1
  • Michaela Spiteri
    • 3
  • Emma Lewis
    • 3
  • Mo Didi
    • 1
  • Conor Mallucci
    • 1
  1. 1.Neurosurgery DepartmentAlder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation TrustLiverpoolUK
  2. 2.Pediatric Neurosurgery Department, Carlos Haya HospitalUniversity of MálagaMálagaSpain
  3. 3.Centre for Vision Speech and Signal Processing, Department of Electronic EngineeringUniversity of SurreyGuildfordUK

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