A new concept of diffuse (low-grade) glioma surgery

  • H. Duffau
Part of the Advances and Technical Standards in Neurosurgery book series (NEUROSURGERY, volume 38)


Preservation and even improvement of the quality of life is currently a priority in surgery for gliomas, in addition to the optimization of the extent of resection with significant increase of the overall survival. In this setting, the goal of the present review is to revisit technical aspects of glioma surgery in the lights of new concepts both in the fields of neurooncology and cognitive neurosciences, which recently emerged from translational researches — with special emphasis on diffuse low grade gliomas.

Firstly, the vascularisation (arteries and veins) has to be more systematically spared, by performing subpial dissection and by limiting the use of coagulation within the brain. Secondly, individual cortical as well as subcortical mapping must be more regularly considered, with the aim of better understanding and preserving the white matter pathways underlying the functional connectivity — even in presumed “non-eloquent areas”, to perform “supra-complete” resection.

Therefore, brain surgeons should change their state of mind, in order to operate the nervous system involved by a chronic tumoral disease (and no more by operating a tumor mass within the brain). In other words, the neurosurgeon should see first the brain, and not the glioma, to adapt his surgical procedure to the three-dimensional anatomo-functional organization of each patient. It implies that brain surgeon must change his technique within the central nervous system, which has to be different from the surgical technique outside the brain. This perspective seems to represent the best way to build a modern and personalized “functional surgical neurooncology”.


Intraoperative electrical stimulation glioma surgery subpial dissection subcortical mapping functional connectivity 


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© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Duffau
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Neurosurgery, Gui de Chauliac HospitalMontpellier University Medical CenterMontpellierFrance
  2. 2.Team “Plasticity of Central Nervous System, Human Stem Cells and Glial Tumors”, INSERM U1051, Institute for Neuroscience of Montpellier, Hôpital Saint EloiCHU MontpellierMontpellierFrance

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