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Bilateral and asymmetrical localization of language function identified by the superselective infusion of propofol in an epilepsy patient with a mild malformation of cortical development: illustrative case

Mayuko Otomo, Shin-ichiro Osawa, Kyoko Suzuki, Kazuo Kakinuma, Kazushi Ukishiro, Hiroyoshi Suzuki, Kuniyasu Niizuma, Norio Narita, Nobukazu Nakasato, and Teiji Tominaga

BACKGROUND

Atypical localization of language function can result in unexpected postsurgical deficits after cortical resection, but it is difficult to predict the risk in the presurgical evaluation. The authors experienced a rare case of the bilateral and independent existence of different components of language function identified by segmented evaluation of anatomical anterior and posterior language areas using the superselective infusion of propofol.

OBSERVATIONS

A 32-year-old right-handed female presented with drug-resistant epilepsy. Comprehensive epilepsy evaluation suggested that the epileptic foci involved the whole left frontal lobe but provided less evidence of structural abnormality. To estimate the extent of functional deterioration likely to be caused by an extended left frontal lobectomy, the authors evaluated segmented cortical function in the ipsi- and contralateral hemispheres by the superselective infusion of propofol into the branches of the intracranial artery. The results revealed bilateral and asymmetrical localization of language function because the patient presented with different components of aphasia in each hemisphere. Based on the authors’ assessment of her functional tolerance, an extended left frontal lobectomy was performed and resulted in neurological deficits within the anticipated range.

LESSONS

An accurate understanding of the correlations between vascular and functional anatomy and the highly specific evaluation of language function provides more advanced presurgical assessment, allowing more tailored planning of cortical resection.