Intraoperative overlay of optic radiation tractography during anteromesial temporal resection: a prospective validation study

Vejay N. Vakharia*, Sjoerd B. Vos, Gavin P. Winston, Matthew J. Gutman, Victoria Wykes, Andrew W. McEvoy, Anna Miserocchi, Rachel Sparks, Sebastien Ourselin, John S. Duncan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE Anteromesial temporal lobe resection (ATLR) results in long-term seizure freedom in patients with drug-resistant focal mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE). There is significant anatomical variation in the anterior projection of the optic radiation (OR), known as Meyer's loop, between individuals and between hemispheres in the same individual. Damage to the OR results in contralateral superior temporal quadrantanopia that may preclude driving in 33%-66% of patients who achieve seizure freedom. Tractography of the OR has been shown to prevent visual field deficit (VFD) when surgery is performed in an interventional MRI (iMRI) suite. Because access to iMRI is limited at most centers, the authors investigated whether use of a neuronavigation system with a microscope overlay in a conventional theater is sufficient to prevent significant VFD during ATLR. METHODS Twenty patients with drug-resistant MTLE who underwent ATLR (9 underwent right-side ATLR, and 9 were male) were recruited to participate in this single-center prospective cohort study. Tractography of the OR was performed with preoperative 3-T multishell diffusion data that were overlaid onto the surgical field by using a conventional neuronavigation system linked to a surgical microscope. Phantom testing confirmed overlay projection errors of < 1 mm. VFD was quantified preoperatively and 3 to 12 months postoperatively by using Humphrey and Esterman perimetry. RESULTS Perimetry results were available for all patients postoperatively, but for only 11/20 (55%) patients preoperatively. In 1/20 (5%) patients, a significant VFD occurred that would prevent driving in the UK on the basis of the results on Esterman perimetry. The VFD was identified early in the series, despite the surgical approach not transgressing OR tractography, and was subsequently found to be due to retraction injury. Tractography was also used from this point onward to inform retractor placement, and no further significant VFDs occurred. CONCLUSIONS Use of OR tractography with overlay outside of an iMRI suite, with application of an appropriate error margin, can be used during approach to the temporal horn of the lateral ventricle and carries a 5% risk of VFD that is significant enough to preclude driving postoperatively. OR tractography can also be used to inform retractor placement. These results warrant a larger prospective comparative study of the use of OR tractography-guided mesial temporal resection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543-552
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • epilepsy
  • Meyer's loop
  • optic radiation
  • surgical technique
  • tractography


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