Functional mapping is important for determining surgical candidacy and also in epilepsy surgery planning. However, in young children and uncooperative patients, language mapping has been particularly challenging despite the advances in performing noninvasive functional studies. In this study the authors review a series of children with epilepsy who underwent language mapping with magnetoencephalography (MEG) while sedated or sleeping, to determine receptive language localization for presurgical evaluation.
The authors undertook a retrospective review of patients who underwent MEG between December 2007 and July 2009, and identified 15 individuals who underwent passive language testing as part of their presurgical evaluation because they were unable to participate in traditional language testing, such as Wada or functional MRI. Factors necessitating passive language testing included age and neurocognitive development.
Three of the 15 patients were deemed candidates for epilepsy surgery based on the results from standard preoperative testing, including video electroencephalography, MRI, and passive receptive language testing using MEG technology. The MEG studies were used successfully to localize language in all 3 patients, creating opportunities for seizure freedom through surgery that would not otherwise have been available. All 3 patients then underwent resective epilepsy surgery without experiencing postoperative language deficits.
This case series is the first to look at language mapping during sleep (passive language mapping) in which MEG was used and is the first to evaluate passive language testing in a patient population with intracranial pathological entities. This case series demonstrates that MEG can provide an alternative method for receptive language localization in patients with barriers to more traditional language testing, and in these 3 cases surgery was performed safely based on the results.