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Intraoperative neurophysiology in pediatric supratentorial surgery: experience with 57 cases

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Utilization of intraoperative neurophysiology (ION) to map and assess various functions during supratentorial brain tumor and epilepsy surgery is well documented and commonplace in the adult setting. The applicability has yet to be established in the pediatric age group.


All pediatric supratentorial surgery utilizing ION of the motor system, completed over a period of 10 years, was analyzed retrospectively for the following variables: preoperative and postoperative motor deficits, extent of resection, sensory-motor mappability and monitorability, location of lesion, patient age, and monitoring alarms. Intraoperative findings were correlated with antecedent symptomatology as well as short- and long-term postoperative clinical outcome. The monitoring impact on surgical course was evaluated on a per-case basis.


Data were analyzed for 57 patients (ages 3–207 months (93 ± 58)). Deep lesions (in proximity to the pyramidal fibers) constituted 15.7% of the total group, superficial lesions 47.4%, lesions with both deep and superficial components 31.5%, and ventricular 5.2%. Mapping of the motor cortex was significantly more successful using the short-train technique than Penfield’s technique (84% vs. 25% of trials, respectively), particularly in younger children. The youngest age at which motor mapping was successfully achieved was 3 vs. 93 months for each method, respectively. Preoperative motor strength was not associated with monitorability. Direct cortial motor evoked potential (dcMEP) was more sensitive than transcranial (tcMEP) in predicting postoperative motor decline. dcMEP decline was not associated with tumor grade or extent of resection (EOR); however, it was associated with lesion location and more prone to decline in deep locations. ION actively affected surgical decisions in several aspects, such as altering the corticectomy location and alarming due to a MEP decline.


ION is applicable in the pediatric population with certain limitations, depending mainly on age. When successful, ION has a positive impact on surgical decision-making, ultimately providing an added element of safety for these patients.

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We thank Tomer Ziv-Baran, PhD, for the assistance with statistical analysis, and Mrs. Adina Sherer for the editorial assistance.

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Correspondence to Jonathan Roth.

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Roth, J., Korn, A., Sala, F. et al. Intraoperative neurophysiology in pediatric supratentorial surgery: experience with 57 cases. Childs Nerv Syst 36, 315–324 (2020).

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