Rasmussen encephalitis is a rare chronic neurological pathology frequently treated with functional hemispherectomy (or hemispherotomy). This surgical procedure frees patients of their severe epilepsy associated with the disease but may induce cognitive disorders and notably language alterations after disconnection of the left hemisphere.
The authors describe longitudinally 3 cases of female patients with Rasmussen encephalitis who underwent left hemispherotomy in childhood and benefited from a favorable cognitive outcome. In the first patient, the hemispherotomy occurred at a young age, and the recovery of language and cognitive abilities was rapid and efficient. The second patient benefited from the surgery later in childhood. In addition, she presented a reorganization of language and memory functions that seem to have been at the expense of nonverbal ones. The third patient was a teenager during surgery. She benefited from a more partial cognitive recovery with persistent disorders several years after the surgery.
Recovery of cognitive functions, including language, occurs after left hemispherotomy, even when performed late in childhood. Therefore, the surgery should be considered as early as possible to promote intercognitive reorganization.