In drug-resistant temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) patients, the authors evaluated early and late outcomes for decline in visual object naming after dominant temporal lobe resection (TLR) according to the resection status of the basal temporal language area (BTLA) identified by cortical stimulation during stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG).
Twenty patients who underwent SEEG for drug-resistant TLE met the inclusion criteria. During language mapping, a site was considered positive when stimulation of two contiguous contacts elicited at least one naming impairment during two remote sessions. After TLR ipsilateral to their BTLA, patients were classified as BTLA+ when at least one positive language site was resected and as BTLA− when all positive language sites were preserved. Outcomes in naming and verbal fluency tests were assessed using pre- and postoperative (means of 7 and 25 months after surgery) scores at the group level and reliable change indices (RCIs) for clinically meaningful changes at the individual level.
BTLA+ patients (n = 7) had significantly worse naming scores than BTLA− patients (n = 13) within 1 year after surgery but not at the long-term evaluation. No difference in verbal fluency tests was observed. When RCIs were used, 5 of 18 patients (28%) had naming decline within 1 year postoperatively (corresponding to 57% of BTLA+ and 9% of BTLA− patients). A significant correlation was found between BTLA resection and naming decline.
BTLA resection is associated with a specific and early naming decline. Even if this decline is transient, naming scores in BTLA+ patients tend to remain lower compared to their baseline. SEEG mapping helps to predict postoperative language outcome after dominant TLR.