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  • Author or Editor: Joerg-Christian Tonn x
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Josef Ilmberger, Maximilian Ruge, Friedrich-Wilhelm Kreth, Josef Briegel, Hans-Juergen Reulen, and Joerg-Christian Tonn

Object

This prospective longitudinally designed study was conducted to evaluate language functions pre- and postoperatively in patients who underwent microsurgical treatment of tumors in close proximity to or within language areas and to detect those patients at risk for a postoperative aphasic disturbance.

Methods

Between 1991 and 2005, 153 awake craniotomies with subsequent cortical mapping of language functions were performed in 149 patients. Language functions were assessed using a standardized test battery. Risk factors were obtained from multivariate logistic regression models.

Results

Language mapping was able to be performed in all patients, and complete tumor resection was achieved in 48.4%. Within 21 days after surgery a new language deficit (aphasic disturbance) was observed in 41 (32%) of the 128 cases without preoperative deficits. There were a total of 60 cases involving postoperative aphasic disturbances, including cases both with and without preoperative disturbances. Risk factors for postoperative aphasic disturbance were preoperative aphasia (p < 0.0002), intraoperative complications (p < 0.02), language-positive sites within the tumor (p < 0.001), and nonfrontal lesion location (p < 0.001). In patients without a preoperative deficit, a normal (yet submaximal) naming performance was a powerful predictor for an early postoperative aphasic disturbance (p < 0.0003). Seven months after treatment 10.9% of the 128 cases without preoperative aphasic disturbances continued to demonstrate new postoperative language disturbances. A total of 17.6% of all cases demonstrated new postoperative language disturbances after 7 months. Risk factors for persistent aphasic disturbance were increased age (> 40 years, p < 0.02) and preoperative aphasia (p < 0.001).

Conclusions

Every attempt should be undertaken to preserve language-relevant areas intraoperatively, even when they are located within the tumor. New postoperative deficits resolve in the majority of patients, which may be a result of cortical mapping as well as functional reorganization.