The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and usefulness of cranial nerve nuclei monitoring during resection of brainstem cavernous malformations. Eleven patients with brainstem cavernous malformations underwent resection of their malformations utilizing cranial nerve nuclei monitoring. Cranial nerves V and VII were monitored by placing electrodes in muscle groups innervated by these nerves and recording manipulation-induced neurotonic discharges and triggered electromyographic (EMG) activity, after electrical stimulation of the corresponding brainstem nuclei. Seven of 11 procedures (64%) with cranial nerve nuclei monitoring were noted to have cranial nerve nuclei activity corresponding to manipulation of the nuclei. The cavernous malformation was completely resected in 5 of 7 cases with cranial nerve nuclei activity and in all 4 cases without activity. In the remaining 2 cases, the cavernous malformation was not resected due to the proximity of the monitored cranial nerve nuclei to the cavernous malformation and to increasing neurotonic activity as the cavernous malformation was approached. None of the 11 patients had new permanent postoperative deficits corresponding to the cranial nerve nuclei monitored; 1 patient had a transient partial facial palsy lasting 2 days. Preliminary results indicate that cranial nerve nuclei monitoring proves useful in preserving neurologic function and reducing surgical morbidity during resection of brainstem cavernous malformations, particularly indicating when lesion resection places these nuclei at risk.
View details for Web of Science ID 000083306000008
View details for PubMedID 10514231